Can a Surviving Spouse Who Commits Elder Abuse Against Their Deceased Spouse Inherit His or Her Estate?

HNW Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Attorney Here’s a very interesting case regarding the right of a disinherited surviving spouse who committed financial elder abuse to inherit from her deceased spouse’s estate. A court affirmed the legality of the marriage in the face of claims it was a “sham” marriage and enforced the surviving spouse’s legal right in a portion of the decedent spouse’s estate.  The issue raised was whether the surviving spouse was prohibited from later being sued for financial elder abuse against the decedent spouse? The trial court believed that it did; the appellate court, however, overruled the trial court. Here’s the background: The surviving spouse was sued …

Understanding What Posting a Bond Means When Administering an Estate

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Estate & Probate Administration Attorney Many individuals when faced with probating an estate are required to post a bond but few really understand what this means or what is involved. Let me explain the process to you in this blog. As a general rule a court or surrogate will require that a fiduciary post a bond to protect against theft, embezzlement, fraud etc. and to ensure him or her diligently performs of his/her statutory responsibility to the estate or trust. This law also sets forth other circumstances when posting a bond is warranted.  These circumstances include: When any written instrument creates a fiduciary relationship …

An Insolvent Estate Escapes Responsibility for Funeral Expenses After Receiving Millions of Dollars

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a Freehold Township, Monmouth County NJ Estate & Probate Administration Attorney In this case an action was filed by a funeral director against decedent’s representative, and others, to recover the balance of his bill for services rendered at the funeral of decedent. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, held that money received by decedent’s representative in settlement of suit for decedent’s wrongful death did not become an asset of decedent’s estate and hence was not available for payment of funeral or burial expenses although the assets of decedent’s estate were practically nonexistent. The Background of the Case The plaintiff, a funeral director, brought suit to recover $960.34, representing the balance of his bill for services rendered …

If You Apply for Adult Medicaid Long Term Care Services, the County Board of Social Services Must Inform You of Its Application Requirements

HNW Applying for Medicaid Long Term Care Benefits, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon, Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County NJ Medicaid Application Attorney New Jersey’s Medicaid Communication guide book requires that during the initial face-to-face meeting between a County Welfare Agency representative and a Medicaid applicant, the agency representative must provide the applicant or his/her representative with a “checklist/missing information highlighting verification(s) and supporting documentation required to process the Medicaid application.”   Medicaid Communication No. 10-09. Where the requested information is not supplied within the timeframe provided in the initial notice, the County Welfare Agency “must” send the applicant or their representative “an additional request for information” detailing “what documentation is still needed in order to determine eligibility.” The second request must advise “that if the …

Just How Far Can Adult Protective Services Go to Protect a Vulnerable Person

HNW Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Elder Abuse & Financial Exploitation Attorney The Adult Protective Services Act (the Act) authorizes protective services providers, such a County Office on Aging, to pursue legal relief for the benefit of vulnerable adults. In a recent case, a local bank advised the Office on Aging that a 90-year old widower was withdrawing $70,000.00 in cash to give to his caretaker. The Office on Aging immediately investigated and successfully applied for access to his home, and permission to have him psychiatrically evaluated. The Chancery judge also appointed a conservator/guardian for his assets.  After the entry of a second order for additional relief, the guardianship was …

Can a Guardian Transfer Assets of a Disabled Person Into a Special Needs Trust Without Going to Court

HNW Elder Law, Guardianship Law, Special Needs Trusts for Minor Children and Adult Incapacitated Person

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Guardianship and Special Needs Attorney Recently a family member met with me about an issue she was experiencing as a guardian to her disabled SSI adult niece. She was told she could establish a Special Needs Trust as Guardian but the “transfer of assets into the trust” must be done pursuant to a court order. In this case the person was in urgent need of Medicaid to cover her significant medical costs. The Aunt is concerned that getting court approval delays the process even more. To me the law is clear. Federal statute permits a guardian to establish a first party special needs …

Charitable Scams and Elder Financial Abuse

HNW Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, Elder Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Attorney I recently read a post involving an elderly widow who was persuaded to take out loans from her bank by telephone scammers who told her she won the New Jersey state lottery.  After she got the loans and wired almost $1 Million dollars (in about 21 wires) to a phony account the banks readily facilitated, she lost a large percentage of her life savings. Because one bank failed to record their mortgage in a timely manner, 3 weeks later she went to another bank who gave her a 30 year fixed rate loan (she was a widow in her 80’s) at 8.99%.  Of …

How Long Does an Executor/Administrator Have to Pay Creditors of an Estate

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County NJ Estate and Probate Administration Attorney I get asked often how much time an estate fiduciary has to pay the bills of a decedent.  The answer is generally straightforward but has a few twists. If a creditor isn’t presented within nine months of the decedent’s death, the law states that “the personal representative shall not be liable to the creditor with respect to any assets which the personal representative may have delivered or paid in satisfaction of any lawful claims, devises or distributive shares, before the presentation of the claim.” N.J.S.A. Section3B:22-4.  Now that doesn’t mean the creditor is screwed.  A creditor can still file …

Appealing Medicare Denial of Benefit Coverage Benefits

HNW Elder Care Law, Elder Law

  There are times when Medicare issues a decision unfavorable to the coverage of your case.  Whether it is classifying you in a hospital as a patient undergoing “observation status” versus being an “in-patient” or terminating rehabilitation services because you are not improving, their decision can be financially devastating.  But their decision is not final.  If handled properly, there are ways in which you can appeal their unfavorable decision. The Medicare Appeal Process The first two stages of the appeals process are informal and usually occur hand-in-hand with one another.   Most are also unsuccessful.  Medicare contracts with third-party companies called Medicare Administrative Contractors and Quality Improvement Contractors, or MACs and QIOs respectively (as they are called), which review appeals of …

Disputes as to Administration of the Estate

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey Estate and Probate Dispute Attorney Sometimes deputes occur concerning who will administer an estate. In such cases, when there is a dispute the decision rests in the court’s discretion, but several standards apply nonetheless. Where the decedent dies intestate (meaning without a last will), the statutes define the priority for the appointment of an administrator of the estate. N.J.S.A. § 3B:10-2 sets forth an order of priority for those eligible to receive letters of administration the statue reads: If any person dies intestate, administration of the intestate’s estate shall be granted to the surviving spouse of the intestate, if he or she will …