Latest Blog Posts:

  • PROTECT YOUR IRA's FROM CREDITORS, PREDATORS AND NURSING HOMES

    On June 12, 2014 the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that an inherited IRA passing to a non-spouse beneficiary is not a "retirement fund" and thus does not provide creditor protection. The case focused on Hedi Heffron-Clark, who inherited an IRA worth about $300,000 when her mother died in 2001. In October 2010 Hedi filed for bankruptcy protection. The Supreme Court ruled that inherited IRA's do not enjoy the same protection as traditional IRA's and are not considered "retirement funds". Therefore, she could not shield these funds from her creditors. This decision will have a monumental impact on how the legal and financial communities plan with IRA's going forward, as individuals who inherit IRA's are now exposing these assets to their creditors and predators...

  • THIS TRUST CAN SAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MORE THAN $50,000.00

    Recently I completed the estate administration for Lillian, who had attended one of my Estate Planning and Elder Law seminars years ago. When we first met, Lillian & Charles had assets in excess of $1,350,000.00 and the assets were held in more than 15 accounts. My first recommendation was...

  • M.K. v. DIVISION OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

    M.K., a Medicaid recipient, appeals the final decision of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (the Division), which imposed a period of ineligibility for benefits because she transferred ownership of her home to her daughter, J.K., for less than fair-market value within sixty months of entering a nursing home facility (the look-back period). M.K. challenges the determination, arguing J.K. satisfied the "caregiver child" exception to application of the look-back period, which is set forth in...

  • TOP ELDER LAW CASES AFFECTING NJ SENIORS FOR 2015

    a review of seven top elder law cases effecting New Jersey seniors in 2015.

  • THE BENEFITS OF A PERSONAL RESIDENCE TRUST

    Many senior citizens are concerned with the thought “what will happen to my primary residence if nursing home care is ever needed?” Married couples are afraid that if one spouse enters a nursing home, the other spouse (“the community spouse”) will have to sell the house. Widowed and single individuals are worried that if they enter a nursing home, they will lose the ability to transfer their house to their children or other loved ones. Fortunately, with proper planning, protection of the primary house is almost a certainty...

  • SUPREME COURT RULES INHERITED IRAs ARE NOT PROTECTED IN BANKRUPTCY

    On June 12, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that individual retirement accounts (IRAs) left to a non-spouse beneficiary are not protected from bankruptcy proceedings. As a result of this decision, individuals who have inherited IRAs are now confronted with the prospect of not having these assets protected from creditors when filing for bankruptcy...

  • TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE: HOW DOES MEDICAID ANSWER THIS QUESTION

    Winston Churchill once said "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." This maxim is almost always true except in the Medicaid context. Last month's blog discussed the five year look back period for Medicaid...

  • WHERE WILL YOU BE IN FIVE YEARS: HOW TO BEAT THE MEDICAID LOOK-BACK PERIOD

    Throughout my educational career the question I repeatedly was asked was "Where will you be in five years?" Whether in high school, college, or law school, there was this emphasis to look forward and plan for the future. For nearly 20 years I have stressed to my clients and their families to do the same thing - look ahead and plan so you will beat the Medicaid look-back period...

  • HOW WILL YOUR ESTATE BE TAXED ???

    Several years ago there was a commercial running with the theme "New Jersey and you- perfect together". We in New Jersey live in a great state. We hosted the Super Bowl, have great beaches, have legal gambling in Atlantic city and so much more. But New Jersey and Maryland are the only two states that have both an estate tax and an inheritance tax...

  • THE MEDICAID APPLICATION PROCESS: DON'T GO IT ALONE

    Have you ever been audited by the IRS? If you ever received an IRS audit notice the first thing you did was probably contact either your CPA or your lawyer. Either way I bet you did not handle the audit yourself, but had the expert represent you...

  • VETERAN'S BENEFITS GUIDE FOR 2014 - A SPECIAL REPORT

    There are many types of VA benefits available to veterans through the Veterans Administration for such things as education, life insurance, health care, home loans and burial benefits. Two major categories of benefits include compensation and pension. This report addresses the often overlooked benefits available to senior citizens and the disabled...

  • PODCAST: Ben Eckman on Senior Care Radio

    Benjamin D. Eckman, Esq. shares his vast knowledge with us regarding estate planning and elder law. He discusses the importance of assisting his clients to plan for long term care and their estates to help preserve their assets. As a specialist in Elder Law, he assists his clients with important legal documents to protect oneself and one’s family.

  • BE CAREFUL TO WHOM YOU GRANT POWER OF ATTORNEY

    On October 22, 2013, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division ruled that a father who granted his son power of attorney and subsequently gifted dad's money to himself, would not allow the father to qualify for the undue hardship waiver when applying for Medicaid...

  • Guest Blogger Elizabeth Davis of Bright Side Manor

    Bright Side Manor has one sole mission - to ensure that older adults have access to a high quality assisted living residence, regardless of their financial situation. In addition to housing, Bright Side Manor provides an array of services that promotes each resident's individuality, dignity, privacy, choice, and independence...

  • FREE SEMINAR - Tuesday, October 8, 2013, Little Falls, NJ

    The Law Firm of Benjamin D. Eckman, Esq. invites you to join us for this FREE post election seminar on Elder Law, Special Needs & Disability Planning. This unique interactive seminar is designed to answer the many complicated questions regarding recent law changes and requirements for effective estate planning. At this FREE seminar the following educational topics will be discussed:

  • Guest Blogger Ron Citron on Long Term Care Insurance

    With cost of nursing home care exceeding $100,000.00 per year, it is vital to not only think about but also put in place a concrete plan for one's long-term health care needs. Ron Citron, president of Ron Citron & Associates is our guest blogger this week. A specialist in the field of Long-term Care Insurance, Ron's blog emphasizes the need to plan in advance...

  • Difficult Decisions: Deciding When and If a Nursing Home is an Option for Your Loved One

    Guest Blogger Adena Twersky, MSW, LSW, Director of Admissions at Daughters of Israel, discusses some of the questions people ask when deciding whether it's time for a long term care facility

  • Panel Discussion: Having The Conversation - How to talk to your parents about Assisted Living...

    * Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:30pm

  • HOW MEDICAID CAN COVER NURSING HOME CARE COSTS IN NEWJERSEY

    The cost of a stay in a New Jersey nursing home can run anywhere between $90,000.00 and $110,000.00 per year. The primary payer for this is Medicaid. Medicaid, unlike Medicare is a welfare program, which covers the medical needs of New Jersey residents over 65, blind or disabled. In order to qualify for the Medicaid Only Program, certain income and resource tests must be met...

  • RETAINING INDEPENDENCE IN YOUR OWN HOME - VISITING HOMEMAKER SERVICES

    Eleanor Frenkel, the director of Visiting Homemaker Home Health Aide Service of Bergen County, is our guest blogger for the week of July 1, 2013. Visiting Homemaker Home Health Aide Service is Bergen County’s only community based non profit home health aide agency and for close to 60 years it has been there for people who need help to remain safely at home...

  • WILL YOU HAVE TO PAY NEW JERSEY ESTATE TAXES?

    The State of New Jersey imposes an estate tax that is separate from the federal estate tax. Under current law, estates with a total value of more than $675,000 are subject to the New Jersey estate tax. This is in addition to New Jersey inheritance tax. The inheritance tax is based on the relationship between...

  • GUEST BLOGGER - Shari McCarten, Branch Manager, ResCare Home Care of Verona

    Shari McCarten, branch manager for the Verona office of ResCare Home Care, is our guest blogger for the week of June 10, 2013. ResCare Home Care offers skilled and non-skilled home care and also offers an elaborate monitoring system called Rest Assured.

  • Better Mental Health Month: Focus on Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

    May is Better Mental Health Month and with it comes an opportunity for all of us to consider how we address and understand the issues that families as well as their adult/children struggle with who may not only have special needs issues, but also are on the Autism Spectrum, and/or have Developmental Disabilities with mental health issues...

  • POWERS OF ATTORNEY: PROTECTING YOUR DIGNITY AND FINANCES IN THE EVENT OF INCAPACITY

    As the population in this country continues to grow older, most people have engaged in some estate planning. A thorough estate plan, however, generally consist of five documents. It includes a Power of Attorney, a Last Will and Testament, a Testamentary Trust, a Living Will and a Health Care Proxy. This article highlights some of the advantages and practical considerations associated with Powers of Attorney...

  • Guest Blogger: Jennifer Faust, Family Counselor

    Jennifer Faust is a Family Counselor with Hollywood Memorial Park and Cemetery in Union, NJ. Here she discusses the benefits of pre-planning...