Highly regarded Certified Elder Law Attorney among just five percent of lawyers in state to be recognized with prestigious professional designation.

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., with offices at 242 St. Paul Street, Westfield, NJ, has been selected as a “New Jersey Super Lawyer” in the areas of Elder Law and Estate Planning in 2009.  Mr. Vanarelli was previously selected as a “New Jersey  Super Lawyer” in 2007 and 2008.

The selection of outstanding lawyers identifies the top 5% of all lawyers in New Jersey who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The rigorous multi-step selection process includes peer evaluation, a review of credentials and current bar status, and review and approval from a blue ribbon panel of leading attorneys.

Mr. Vanarelli, a Certified Elder Law Attorney, represents older and disabled persons and their representatives in financing long-term medical care, nursing home issues, qualifying for Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits, estate planning, probate, guardianship proceedings and special needs planning. Vanarelli also assists families in conflict through dispute resolution services, including litigation, elder mediation, divorce mediation and collaborative law services.

In addition to being board-certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, accredited by the American Bar Association, Mr. Vanarelli was designated as an Accredited Professional Mediator by the NJ Association of Professional Mediators.  Mr. Vanarelli is a co-founder of the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey, and he mediates cases involving elder law, guardianship, probate, and family law issues.

Mr. Vanarelli represented the plaintiff in a seminal estate planning / guardianship case entitled In re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004). In the Keri case, an adult child sought guardianship of his mother and proposed to gift some of her assets to himself and his brother so that mother could qualify for Medicaid while in a nursing home. Reversing lower court decisions, the state Supreme Court ruled, for the first time, that the mother’s assets could be transferred to her children as part of an estate plan to help her qualify for government nursing home benefits. This ruling was characterized by the Star Ledger newspaper as having “broad implications for those with elderly relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia… .”

Mr. Vanarelli has authored numerous articles in the area of elder law and estate planning that have been published in various New Jersey legal magazines, and has also lectured extensively for a number of bar associations and other organizations. This year, Vanarelli is scheduled to speak at the New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting on guardianship law and at the ABA Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Annual Conference on elder mediation.

“I’m humbled and flattered to be recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer in Elder Law and Estate Planning for the third consecutive year, but I know that this professional designation is a reflection of the high quality of legal services that our entire firm provides to clients every day,” said Vanarelli.

There are more than 85,000 practicing attorneys in 55 specialty categories in New Jersey and only 5 percent were chosen as Super Lawyers. The complete list of New Jersey Super Lawyers appears in the New Jersey Monthly and New Jersey Super Lawyers magazines and at www.superlawyers.com.