Spring 2010 Edition

Vol.14 – No. 2

Medicaid/ Elder Law Seminars

“The Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Alzheimer Caregivers” will be presented by Robert Friedman, Attorney at the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Caregiver Conference on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 from 5 pm to 8 pm. The conference will be held at the Leonard Post Jr. VFW Post, 2450 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga, New York. The new power of attorney law, guardianships, health care proxies, living wills, living trusts, Wills, the Family & Medical Leave Act, and Medicaid and VA benefits will be discussed. Free respite is available on site for a limited number of people. There will also be a vendor fair, dinner and door prizes. The registration fee is $15. To register, call the Alzheimer’s Association at (716)-626-0600.

“Fourteen Ways to Preserve Your Assets with the Medicaid Laws” will be presented at these two locations:

  • CLARE BRIDGE, a Brookdale Senior Living Community, located at 6076 Main Street, Williamsville, New York on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm. Speakers are Robert Friedman, Attorney of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.; Bill Daniels of the Erie County Department of Senior Services; Beth Donner of M&T Bank Reverse Mortgages; and John Tomes of Clare Bridge Williamsville. To register for the seminar call Diane at (716) 632-7123 by March 3, 2010.
  • THE AKRON-NEWSTEAD SENIOR CENTER, 5691 Cummings Road, Akron, New York on Monday, March 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm. Speakers are Robert Friedman, Attorney and Colleen Fitzhenry of New England Financial. Pre-registration is not required. For further information call (716) 542-6645.
  • The Medicaid eligibility requirements for long term care were drastically changed. However, you can preserve your assets, while accessing long term care services through the Medicaid program with powers of attorney; health care proxies and living wills; Wills; irrevocable living trusts; transferring your home to family members; reverse mortgages, long term care insurance; prepaid funeral accounts; IRAs and pensions; properly documented gifts; spousal allowances and transfers; caregiver agreements; annuities and promissory notes. For further information on Medicaid planning, send a stamped (.78), 4″x 9 1/2″ self-addressed envelope to PO Box 31-M, Akron, NY 14001-0031 or visit “Free Legal Resources” at WNY-Lawyers.com.


    What’s New at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.?

    • Buffalo Injury Answers Blog has been launched by Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer at www.buffalo-injury-answers.com.
    • Clarence/Williamsville Office is now located at 8205 Main Street, Suite 12, Williamsville, NY 14221 in the Stonegate Office Park.
    • “Successful Debt Collection” will be presented by Robert Friedman at the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association Expo & Experts Roundtable and Trade Show at the Amherst Marriott Hotel on March 10, 2010. Learn the strategies of how to get paid and collect bad debts with proper office procedures and policies; credit application forms; credit agreements and skip tracing. The latest legislation and court cases on bankruptcy, bad checks and fraudulent transfers will be discussed. For information, call (716) 885-5715 or see www.cel-aa.org.

    Ranzenhofer’s Successful Trial Verdicts & Settlements

    Veteran trial attorney, Michael H. Ranzenhofer, recently won the following personal injury awards and settlements:

    • $50,000 settlement, after a jury trial, for a knee injury, sustained by a Derby, New York boilermaker in a snowmobile accident. While operating his snowmobile on a snowmobile trail, he struck a car which had been abandoned on the trail without the car’s owner engaging the hazard warning lights. He sustained an injury to his knee which required arthroscopic surgery.
    • $250,000 settlement from the City of Buffalo for a 59- year-old Amherst, New York woman for back injuries that she sustained when she fell in an abandoned tree pit along Chippewa Street in the City of Buffalo. The case was settled on the eve of trial after years of litigation.
    • $125,000 settlement for a 46-year-old Genesee County woman whose car was struck by another driver who crossed into her lane of traffic and struck her head on. As a result of the collision, she sustained an injury to her knee which required surgery.
    • $90,000 arbitration award after a full hearing for a 47-year-old Genesee County woman. She was stopped at a traffic light on Main Street in Batavia when struck from behind. Her serious injuries required neck surgery.
    • $185,000 settlement from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for a 67-year-old Cheektowaga, NY man who injured his foot when he slipped and fell on accumulated snow and ice in a driveway. He had repeatedly requested that the landlord shovel the driveway, but the landlord refused to keep the premises free and clear of ice and snow. As a result of the slippery conditions, he injured his foot which required surgery.
    • Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer limits his personal injury practice to automobile accident, slip and fall, dog bite and defective product cases. He fights for injured people and their families who have serious losses due to personal injury. We thank our clients, friends and referring attorneys for the confidence they have shown in us by selecting our law firm.


      New Laws

      These new laws and cases are discussed in Robert Friedman’s blog.
      See the www.WNY-Lawyers.com/wordpress for further details.

      ATTORNEYS MAY CANCEL HOME PURCHASE CONTRACTS Attorneys may cancel real estate purchase agreements on behalf of their clients for any reason, or for no reason at all, under the “attorney approval contingency” clause.

      RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LEGISLATION Comprehensive foreclosure legislation provides additional critical protections for New York homeowners, tenants and neighborhoods in the wake of the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

      FEDERAL FORECLOSURE LAW PROTECTS TENANTS Residential tenants in New York and most other states used to have their leases extinguished at foreclosure and could be evicted by the new owners. The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) provides residential tenants with new protections when landlords lose rental units to foreclosure of federally related mortgages.

      COURT APPOINTS A MONITOR INSTEAD OF GUARDIAN In a Guardianship Article 81 proceeding, the New York Supreme Court, Cortland County, appointed the court evaluator as a “monitor” to oversee the financial transactions of the Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP), instead of appointing a guardian.

      SEVEN NEW RULES HELP MORTGAGE SHOPPERS GET A FAIR DEAL Shopping for a mortgage takes time and effort. Choosing the wrong mortgage can be very costly. It could lead to the loss of your home if you can’t afford the payments. But new federal consumer protections will increase the likelihood of finding a fair mortgage that you can afford for many years.

      CHILD PASSENGER PROTECTION ACT The New York Child Passenger Protection Act, also known as Leandra’s Law, makes penalties for drunk driving with child passengers the toughest in the nation. Beginning on December 18, 2009, Leandra’s Law makes it a first-time Class E felony offense for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while transporting passengers age 15 and under. The offense carries a sentence of one to four years in state prison, a fine of $1000 to $5000, and the issuance of a mandatory ignition interlock device.

      MEDICAID PENALTY RATES FOR 2010 The 2010 Medicaid regional rates used to calculate a transfer of assets penalty period are $7,694 for New York, $9,058 for Rochester, New York, and $7,264 for Central New York. These rates are based on average nursing home costs in each of the seven regions in New York State. The value of gifts made within the look-back period is divided by the regional rate to determine the period of ineligibility.


      New York Executor’s Questions Answered

      Q. What is probate?
      A. Probate is the process of proving that the Will of a deceased person (testator) is in fact his or her Will and reflects his or her wishes. The purpose of probate is to prove the validity of the Will, have the executor appointed and administer the estate. A Will may not be probated unless the Surrogate’s Court is satisfied as to its genuineness and the validity of its execution (signing). A Will must be probated to be valid. It is not operative until it is admitted to probate by the Surrogate’s Court. Admission of the Will to probate requires establishing, upon due notice to all required persons, that: (1) It is the Will of the decedent; (2) that it has been signed and witnessed and otherwise executed as required by law; (3) that at the time of its execution the decedent was of sound mind; and (4) that it, indeed, was the last will and testament of the decedent. The execution of a subsequent Will revokes an earlier Will. When the court is satisfied that the above conditions have been established, the Will is admitted to probate and is effective for all purposes, including the transfer of the title to real property. Until such admission to probate, the Will has no force and effect and the named executor has no authority.

      Q. Who can be an executor?
      A. Any U.S. citizen over the age of eighteen (18) years who has not been convicted of a felony can be named executor of a will. Some people choose a lawyer, accountant or financial consultant because of his or her expertise. Others appoint a spouse, adult child, relative or friend, especially if the estate is small. Because of the many responsibilities involved, it is prudent to ask the named executor if he or she is willing to serve as executor.

      Q. How much does the executor get paid?
      A. An executor is paid a commission for all sums of money and all property that he or she receives and pays out, including the estate assets (less any specific bequests or items of real or personal property left by the testator to a specific individual), and income plus all the reasonable and necessary expenses paid by him or her in order to probate the will based on this statutory rate schedule: 5% for receiving and paying out up to $100,000; 4% for receiving and paying out the next $200,000; 3% for receiving and paying out the next $700,000; 2 ½% for receiving and paying out the next $4,000,000 and 2% for receiving and paying out sums above $5,000,000.

      Q. What are the executor’s responsibilities?
      A. A Will names an executor who has the power to petition the Surrogate’s Court to probate it. An executor is the “personal representative” and fiduciary of the decedent and as such must administer the estate. The executor must ensure that the Will is carried out. In general, the executor must handle funeral arrangements and pay for the funeral; pay any outstanding bills of the estate; collect and preserve assets; pay debts, taxes and administration expenses of the estate; and distribute estate assets according to the terms of the will.

      For further information, read the free New York Executor’s Legal Survival Guide at WNY-Lawyers.com/executor_legal_survival_guide.pdf.


      Disclaimer

      While a great deal of care has been taken to provide accurate and current information, the ideas, suggestions, general principles and conclusions presented in this newsletter are subject to local, state and federal laws and regulations, court cases and any revisions of same. The reader is thus urged to consult legal counsel regarding any points of law – this newsletter should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice. The purpose of this newsletter is to give the reader a general understanding of the law – not to provide specific advice. Every effort has been made to achieve accuracy. The law constantly changes and is subject to differing interpretations. Always consult with your attorney and act only on his or her advice. Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from any inaccuracy or omission. This newsletter is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Certain portions of this newsletter may be applicable only to New York State law.

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