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Donald D. Vanarelli

Law Office of Donald Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli

Law Office of Donald Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli

Law Office of Donald Vanarelli

Donald D. Vanarelli has been a practicing attorney since 1983, admitted to practice law in New Jersey and New York. Mr. Vanarelli is committed to protecting the legal rights of seniors, the disabled and their families, and families in conflict. Mr. Vanarelli and the other lawyers in his firm provide legal services of the highest quality in the areas of elder law, estate planning, trust administration, special education, special needs planning and trial advocacy, including probate litigation, will contests, contested guardianships, and elder abuse trials. Mr. Vanarelli also assists clients and families in conflict through dispute resolution services, including elder mediation, divorce mediation and collaborative services.

Mr. Vanarelli has been actively involved in trial advocacy on behalf of elderly and disabled citizens of New Jersey, appearing before the New Jersey Supreme Court, federal court and administrative agencies on multiple cases in precedent-setting cases. In that regard, Mr. Vanarelli represented the plaintiff in a pivotal special needs trust case decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court entitled Saccone v. Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, 219 N.J. 369 (2014). Mr. Vanarelli represented the plaintiff in a seminal estate planning / guardianship case entitled In re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004). Mr. Vanarelli was co-counsel representing plaintiff Alma Galletta and the putative class plaintiffs in Galletta v. Velez, Civil No. 13-532 (D.N.J. June 3, 2014) in which a federal district judge ruled, for the first time, that a pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be counted as income in determining Medicaid eligibility. 

Mr. Vanarelli is a recipient of the Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section. The Lifetime Achievement Award, the Elder and Disability Law Section’s highest honor, is bestowed on an attorney with an established history of distinguished service who has made significant contributions in the field of elder and disability law throughout his or her career. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognized Mr. Vanarelli’s advocacy in elder and disability law, including a number of precedent-setting legal victories which advanced the rights of seniors and persons with disabilities.

Mr. Vanarelli is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, an ABA-certifying organization. In addition, Mr. Vanarelli is an Accredited Veterans Attorney, a Founding Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, an Accredited Professional Mediator, a Co-Founder of the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey, and a Co-Founder of the New Jersey Collaborative Law Group. He is a Past Chair of the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Mr. Vanarelli has been rated “AV Pre-Eminent” by Martindale-Hubbell for 15 years, signifying professional excellence. He was named to the New Jersey “Super Lawyer” list in the years 2007 – present.

Mr. Vanarelli is a graduate of Montclair State University and Rutger’s Law School. He served as Law Clerk to Hon. Herbert S. Alterman, J.S.C., and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Past Positions: Hon. Herbert S. Alterman, J.S.C., Judicial Clerkship, 1983 - 1984; Hon. Leonard I. Garth, U.S.C.J., Judicial Internship, 1982 - 1983; Social Security Administration, Claims Representative, 1974 - 1980; Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, 1972 - 1974. 

Firm Description

Recognized in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Special Needs Law

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, located in Westfield, New Jersey, provides a broad range of legal services for seniors, the disabled and their families, and families in conflict. We successfully guide our clients through the complex areas of income, estate and gift tax laws, public benefits planning, trial advocacy and court procedures, and the administrative process. Our attorneys offer legal services in the following areas of practice:
  • Medicaid and Public Benefits Planning 
  • Special Needs and Disability Planning 
  • Guardianship and Fiduciary Services 
  • Will Contests, Probate Litigation and Elder Abuse Trials
  • Medicaid Applications and Medicaid Appeals
  • Comprehensive Life Care Planning 
  • Nursing Home Law and Litigation 
  • Estate Planning and Administration 
  • VA Compensation and Pension Benefits 
  • Social Security Disability Appeals 
  • Family Law Services 
  • Dispute Resolution Services: Elder Mediation, Collaborative Law, and Divorce Mediation

Visit us Google+, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Elder Law Answers, Google Maps, and JD Supra.

 

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Main Office

242 St. Paul Street
Westfield, NJ 07090

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Medicaid 101
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

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How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

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Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

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What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

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Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

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Medicaid Planning Strategies

Careful planning for potentially devastating long-term care costs can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children.

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Estate Recovery: Can Medicaid Take My House After I’m Gone?

If steps aren't taken to protect the Medicaid recipient's house from the state’s attempts to recover benefits paid, the house may need to be sold.

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Help Qualifying and Paying for Medicaid, Or Avoiding Nursing Home Care

There are ways to handle excess income or assets and still qualify for Medicaid long-term care, and programs that deliver care at home rather than in a nursing home.

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Are Adult Children Responsible for Their Parents’ Care?

Most states have laws on the books making adult children responsible if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves.

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Applying for Medicaid

Applying for Medicaid is a highly technical and complex process, and bad advice can actually make it more difficult to qualify for benefits.

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Alternatives to Medicaid

Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited. For those who can afford it and who can qualify for coverage, long-term care insurance is the best alternative to Medicaid.

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ElderLaw 101
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

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Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

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Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

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Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

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Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

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Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

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Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

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Long-Term Care Insurance

Understand the ins and outs of insurance to cover the high cost of nursing home care, including when to buy it, how much to buy, and which spouse should get the coverage.

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Medicare

Learn who qualifies for Medicare, what the program covers, all about Medicare Advantage, and how to supplement Medicare’s coverage.

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Retirement Planning

We explain the five phases of retirement planning, the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, types of investments, asset diversification, the required minimum distribution rules, and more.

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Senior Living

Find out how to choose a nursing home or assisted living facility, when to fight a discharge, the rights of nursing home residents, all about reverse mortgages, and more.

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Social Security

Get a solid grounding in Social Security, including who is eligible, how to apply, spousal benefits, the taxation of benefits, how work affects payments, and SSDI and SSI.

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Special Needs Planning

Learn how a special needs trust can preserve assets for a person with disabilities without jeopardizing Medicaid and SSI, and how to plan for when caregivers are gone.

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Veterans Benefits

Explore benefits for older veterans, including the VA’s disability pension benefit, aid and attendance, and long-term care coverage for veterans and surviving spouses.

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