2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Monday, January 01, 2007

NJ Laws Newsletter E233 January 3, 2007

1. Happy New Year
I would like to thank my friends for another banner year in 2006. This year was our single best year for referrals. So many of you were kind enough to tell others about our services. Since 1985 I have helped individuals and businesses with legal matters. With changing laws, it is important that your estate planning documents are updated to reflect your most valuable investments. As you know, all business must grow, and one of the safest ways to grow is to get referrals from satisfied clients. Thank you for referring friends and family.
May 2007 bring happiness and good health to you and those you love.

2. Freezing Cold Hash Run details and volunteers needed
Sat. Jan. 6, 2007 10:00am

START: Ken Vercammen Law Office, 2053 Woodbridge Ave., Edison, NJ 08817 [near the Nixon Post Office]
COST: NO FEE TO RUN. Please bring a canned food donation for the St. James Food Bank. You must be over 21 years old to participate. No awards are given and no times are recorded. A sense a humor is a must.

Wear Yellow. We need 3 volunteers to help set up a 8am and pass out trail running instructions. You can volunteer even if you are not running. Free T shirt and beers for volunteers

Jan. 2006 photos: http://groups.msn.com/RumsonHash/shoebox.msnw

See exciting photos from 2005: http://groups.msn.com/RumsonHash/freezingcoldhash2005.msnw

2004 Photos:

December 2006 Home News article: http://www.thnt.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612140304

Sentinel article: http://ems.gmnews.com/news/2006/0111/Front_Page/022.html

Directions: http://www.njlaws.com/FREEZING_COLD_HASH_RUN.htm

3. Wills, Probate and Elder Law Seminar
...New changes in laws can help seniors! Free program!

WHERE: South Brunswick Senior Center, Ridge Rd./ Rt 522

WHEN: Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:30 P.M.

SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
(Co-Author- NJ Elder Law & Probate)
- So you don't have a Will. You won't live forever and you can't take it with you. What should you do?
Main Topics:
1. Wills and the 2006 changes to the NJ Probate Law
2. Power of Attorney
3. Living Will
4. Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate
5. Estate Planning
6. Revocable Trusts/ Irrevocable Trusts
7. Federal HIPAA Regulations on release of medical info
8. Federal Estate Tax
9. Question and Answer

COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures and Hand-outs on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.
Here is your opportunity to listen to an experienced attorney who will answer questions how to distribute your property as you wish and avoid many rigid provisions of state law.

Information: South Brunswick Seniors
att: Susan Trilli 732-329-4000
Ridge Rd.
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852

Helpful information on Wills

4. Recent cases: Defense can comment on no fingerprints. State v. Loyal 386 NJ Super. 162 (App. Div. 2006) Defense counsel may, during summation, call attention to the State's failure to present fingerprint evidence linking defendant to the crime. - Predisposition report required prior to juvenile disposition. State in the Interest of T.A. 386 NJ super. 642 (App. Div. 2006) Absent an express waiver, a predisposition report is required as a prerequisite to a delinquency disposition. - Defendant voluntarily waived self-incrimination where he did not ask for attorney. State v. Cabrera 387 NJ Super. 81 (App. Div. 2006) Where defendant was not continuously questioned while in custody, he was not unduly tried and was given food and drink, and despite repeated warnings he never asked for an attorney or for the interrogation to stop, there was sufficient credible evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant voluntarily waived his right against self-incrimination.

5. For Medicaid Applications, Having an Attorney Can Be Crucial

By Dana E. Bookbinder, Esquire

Given the convoluted and ambiguous set of provisions that are our federal and state Medicaid laws, it is a wonder how any lawmaker could expect individuals, especially seniors with compromised health, to apply for benefits on their own. Federal regulations require Medicaid caseworkers to be helpful to those who file for benefits, but state and federal budgetary constraints have created a reality that is much more frustrating than the printed law would suggest. Many individuals file applications unprepared for the minutiae that will delay the processing of their application for several months or cost them tens of thousands of dollars in health care expenses. Fortunately, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the difference that an attorney can make with Medicaid applications.

The most common obstacle to obtaining a timely Medicaid approval is the failure to provide the Medicaid office with complete information. The amount of paperwork required with each application is burdensome, and under new federal law, last year it became potentially more burdensome. In addition to comprehensive financial information dating back three (soon to be five) years, Medicaid applicants must submit a variety of documents such as marriage licenses, birth records, deeds, affidavits, etc. to support their applications. The documentation required varies somewhat with each case, but the paperwork is oppressive for even the most organized individual. When a senior is dealing with his spouse's ailing health and his own limitations, the task of applying for benefits becomes overwhelming.

The most daunting obstacle to a Medicaid approval is the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. This Act extended the three-year lookback to five, creating much more homework for anyone seeking benefits. It also changed the rules regarding transfers of assets and created partial month penalties. Whereas the old rules granted Medicaid eligibility for a certain period of whole months, the new laws grant or deny Medicaid for partial month periods. With regard to certain assets such as annuities and promissory notes which may be held by Medicaid applicants, the new law confuses most Medicaid caseworkers rather than guides them. The result is that many more Medicaid applications have to be sent up from the county level, where the applications are originally filed, to central state offices for review. In New Jersey, the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services in Trenton has been collecting applications that include trusts, annuities, and notes for several months. This is slowing the entire process.

To those who do not practice elder law, it is always unbelievable that the counties implement certain Medicaid eligibility policies which are not necessarily written down. Other policies are handed down from the state office to the county supervisors through memos that do not reach the public until after the supervisors begin to implement them. For instance, the firm recently learned that such a memo was disseminated among the counties concerning prepaid funerals and whether the Medicaid eligibility rules permitted prepaying a funeral luncheon.

Because much of what affects those applying for Medicaid is not part of the written law, different county Medicaid offices enforce different procedures for filing applications. Certain eligibility requirements also vary from county to county. Some counties permit applications by mail, some permit non-lawyers to represent the applicant at the meeting to file the paperwork, and others are stricter, only permitting certain family members or attorneys to represent the individual applicant. Partial month penalties as required under the Deficit Reduction Act have begun to be imposed by Burlington County, for instance, yet not by the other local counties as of this writing. Counties also vary in the levels of proof they require to permit a child of a Medicaid applicant to retain his or her parent's house in his own name with no Medicaid penalty.

Finally, another difficulty is obtaining Medicaid approval is the public benefit numbers themselves. These figures on which Medicaid eligibility hinges change each year. Certain figures are updated each January and others in July. They include income and asset caps. To many seniors' surprise, they also include strict limitations on the amount of assets that spouses of Medicaid recipients may retain.

The Medicaid application process and eligibility laws may be designed for the public's use, but they are complex and burdensome. They are especially daunting for the population they are designed to assist. Especially in a time when our government is tightening the budget and implementing restrictive laws such as the Deficit Reduction Act, it is crucial for families to obtain legal counsel. Failure to plan ahead can severely impact a family's financial status, especially if there is a spouse involved who wishes to maintain his or her home.

Tom Begley Jr. and Begley & Bookbinder, P.C. is an Elder, Medicaid & Disability Law Firm with offices in Moorestown, Stone Harbor and Lawrenceville, New Jersey and can be contacted at 800-533-7227. The firm services southern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Please mention Kenneth Vercammen's office when calling to make an appointment for Medicaid representation.

Kenneth Vercammen's law blog- http://njlaws1.blogspot.com/
Thank you for reading our newsletter! God Bless America USA #1

We appreciate continued referrals. We want to take the time to extend to our friends and clients our sincere gratitude because it is good friends and clients that make our business grow. Client recommendation is a very important source of new clients to us. We are grateful for the recommendation of new clients. We will do our best to give all clients excellent care. We shall do our best to justify all recommendations.

"Celebrating more than 20 years of providing excellent service to clients 1985-2006" Former Prosecutor
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Editor's Note and Disclaimer: All materials Copyright 2007. You may pass along the information on the NJ Laws Newsletter and website, provided the name and address of the Law Office is included.

2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030
website: www.njlaws.com

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