Kenneth Vercammen, Esq is Chair of the ABA Elder Law Committee and presents seminars to attorneys and the public on Wills, Probate and other legal topics related to Estate Planning and Elder law. Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He was a speaker at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals.

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.

2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500
http://www.njlaws.com/

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Guardianship met by clear and convincing evidence

Guardianship met by clear and convincing evidence
IN THE MATTER OF FLORENCE FISHER,
AN INCAPACITATED PERSON.
__________________________________
February 6, 2014

Submitted November 18, 2013 – Decided

Before Judges Parrillo and Kennedy.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Bergen County, Docket No. P-317-11.

 
(NOTE: The status of this decision is Unpublished.)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
APPELLATE DIVISION
DOCKET NO. A-5108-11T4

This appeal arises from guardianship proceedings brought on behalf of Florence Fisher (Florence), eighty-nine years of age and suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. Florence has three daughters: Judith Furer (Judith), Meredith A. Fisher (Meredith), and Lesley Greenblatt (Lesley).1 Judith filed a verified complaint in the Chancery Division to declare Florence incapacitated and appoint herself and Lesley as co-guardians. Meredith opposed the relief sought, but the court entered judgment of incapacity and appointed Judith and Lesley as co-guardians for Florence. Meredith moved unsuccessfully for reconsideration and now appeals. After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm essentially for the reasons set forth by Judge Peter E. Doyne in his opinions on the record.
We will not recite in detail the procedural and factual background of this litigation. Instead, we incorporate by reference the factual findings and legal conclusions contained in Judge Doyne's lengthy decisions rendered from the bench. We add the following brief comments.
We are satisfied that, commencing with the filing of the verified complaint on August 19, 2011, and continuing through the entry of judgment on February 22, 2012, and the denial of reconsideration on May 9, 2012, Meredith was accorded every appropriate consideration by Judge Doyne in pressing her objections to the relief sought in the verified complaint. Indeed, Judge Doyne observed that Meredith routinely sought adjournments, and that, as of the date of the hearing,
this court has seen nothing which suggests that further adjourning this matter is in Florence's best interest. . . . [I]t is Florence's best interest that guides this court, not whether Meredith is being treated fairly [by her mother or others]. As such, this court shall not adjourn the matter.

Judge Doyne had appointed a guardian ad litem for Florence shortly after the verified complaint was filed, Gerald Salerno, Esq., and all parties, except Meredith, were prepared to proceed.
Florence was born in 1925, and is a widower with three adult daughters, as noted earlier. She now suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. At the time of the complaint, Florence resided at an assisted living facility located in Teaneck, New Jersey. Plaintiff and respondent hold a general Durable Power of Attorney from Florence dated April 28, 2009.
Expert psychiatric reports, by Dr. Jagdish C. Dang, M.D., and Dr. Joel S. Federbush, M.D., were submitted with the verified complaint. Dr. Dang opined that Florence "does not have capacity to take care of herself and is not fit or able to govern herself, and to manage her affairs" and that she has "Alzheimer's Dementia and Depressive disorder." In his report, Dr. Dang expressed concern about her cognitive difficulties, poor executive functions, and possibility of exploitation and coercion. Further, he opined that Florence "cannot comprehend the extent of her financial, medical and legal situation, and cannot make rational decisions. She needs a guardian appointed."
Similarly, Dr. Federbush diagnosed Florence as
suffer[ing] from a diagnosis of Dementia – probably Alzheimer's type which has resulted in significant chronic functional impairment to such a degree that she lacks the cognitive capacity (i) to comprehend concepts relating to her person care, her health and medical needs (and her property, if applicable), (ii) to evaluate information and make judgments with respect thereto; and (iii) to communicated judgments thereon, all of which jeopardize her health, safety and well-being. Her prognosis is poor.

He also expressed concern about her "cognitive impairments" and "vulnerability to exploitation[,]" and concluded that Florence was "unfit and unable to govern herself and manage her own affairs, and that she is in need of a guardian."
Mr. Salerno, the guardian ad litem for Florence, stated in his report to the court:
Florence is unable to govern herself and to manage her own affairs. . . . It is obvious in meeting with her and speaking to her that she does have an understanding of certain matters and wishes to maintain some degree in autonomy and say in her affairs, and I believe that [Judith] and Lesley will continue to elicit her input for as long as she is capable of providing input.

. . . .

I do recommend that [Judith] and Lesley are appropriate and suitable to be appointed as the Co-Guardians of the Person and Property of Florence Fisher. They have effectively functioned in this role for the past few years and I do not believe that much will change as a result of the formality of this adjudication. Furthermore, this appointment is consistent with Florence's wishes and the Durable Power of Attorney she executed in 2009.

Mr. Salerno met with Florence a second time, after Meredith expressed some concerns about Florence and her relationship with the three daughters. He noted that "Florence ha[d] become even more forgetful and in particular had difficulty recalling certain immediate details that [they] had just discussed." However, he did not alter his recommendations from his initial report, because "the passage of additional time and the events that have transpired since [his] initial report to the [c]ourt confirm in [his] mind the fact that Florence is unable and unfit to govern herself and manage her own affairs with respect to legal matters, finances and medical decisions."
Judge Doyne ultimately determined that Florence was legally incapacitated and appointed Judith and Lesley as co-guardians and stated, in part:
It is clear beyond [per]adventure that a guardian is needed in this matter. The incapacity has been demonstrated and there is no competent contravention of same. The only assertions that Florence is not incapacitated are made by Meredith. There is absolutely no support for the same. In fact, in more than one letter authored by Meredith to the [c]ourt she describes her mother as suffering from dementia. . . . [W]hat should have been a relatively straightforward incapacity matter has been sidetracked due to Meredith's concerns for monies she receives and that her daughter's [sic] received.

. . . .

[This] is a hearing to address Florence's needs and what is in the best interest of Florence. Separate and apart from the [confidence] [sic] this court has in [Mr.] Salerno, there is no competent evidence before this [c]ourt whatsoever which would suggest that Judith and Lesley should not be appointed as co-guardians. As such, they shall be appointed as co-guardians.

Judge Doyne carefully reviewed the evidence presented, and thereafter concluded that Judith and Lesley had met by clear and convincing evidence all the legal requirements for a judgment of incapacity and the appointment of a guardian. See N.J.S.A. 3B:12-24 to -29; In re Guardianship of Macak, 377 N.J. Super. 167, 175-76 (App. Div. 2005). A person is incapacitated if (s)he "is impaired by reason of mental illness or intellectual disability to the extent that [she] lacks sufficient capacity to govern [her]self and manage [her] affairs." N.J.S.A. 3B:1-2. Judge Doyne's opinion is supported by adequate, substantial, credible evidence, Cesare v. Cesare154 N.J. 394, 411-12 (1998) (citing Rova Farms Resort, Inc. v. Investors Ins. Co.65 N.J. 474, 484 (1974)), and therefore may not be disturbed on appeal.
Finally, Judge Doyne did not abuse his discretion in denying reconsideration. Fusco v. Newark Bd. of Educ.349 N.J. Super. 455, 462 (App. Div. 2002); Marinelli v. Mitts & Merrill303 N.J. Super. 61, 77 (App. Div. 1997); Cummings v. Bahr295 N.J. Super. 374, 389 (App. Div. 1996). The remainder of Meredith's arguments on appeal are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. Rule 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
certify
Affirmed.
1  We refer to the parties by their first names to avoid confusion. We mean no disrespect.


This archive is a service of Rutgers School of Law - Camden.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law & Estate Administration Seminar Wed, May

Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law & Estate Administration Seminar  
        Wed, May 7  5:00 PM - 9:00 PM New Jersey Law Center One Constitution Square New Brunswick, NJ 08901  Includes a 260-page book, plus CD with sample forms, documents & checklists! and dinner     Elder law continues to offer the legal profession a booming opportunity for growth. As your current clients continue to grow older, you need to position yourself to be able to offer them and their families the legal services required by the elderly in today’s society. Or, you may be looking for lucrative areas in which to expand your current practice, including administering their estates.
This practical program is designed to provide the nuts and bolts of elder law practice & estate administration practice to general practitioners and young lawyers, as well as to more experienced lawyers seeking to expand into this field. A highly authoritative and experienced panel of elder law attorneys & estate planners will share proven techniques and experience it would take you years to gather on your own. You’ll also gain insight on how Federal Medicaid Reform will impact your practice.
Everything you need to know about elder law & estate administration including:

• Why Have a Will? - Gathering information; standard provisions; designation of fiduciaries; protective clauses; sample forms; Ethics - who is the client?

• Powers of Attorney - Types of POAs; what should be included; why clients need them; POAs and Living Wills; sample forms

• Living Trusts (Revocable/Irrevocable) as an Estate Planning Tool - Why it should be used; Ethics - who is the client?; disadvantages; revocable vs. irrevocable; Insurance Trusts; sample forms

• Basic Tax Considerations - Jointly-held property; “I love you” Will; no Will at all; insurance owned by client; unlimited marital deduction; estate planning in the testamentary document; sample forms/letters

• Estate Administration - New Probate Law in New Jersey - Probate process; duties of executor/fiduciary; gathering of assets; tax returns; tax waivers; access to property; sample forms/checklists

• Medicaid Planning in Light of Federal Medicaid Reform - Countable assets of Medicaid applicant; income cap/Medical needy standard; look-back period; transfers of property; personal residence; Medicaid estate recovery rules; probate; undue influence; competency
…and more
         Speakers:
-KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ. Chair, ABA Elder Law Committee Past GP Solo Section Attorney of the Year Past NJSBA Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year  Edison, NJ
-WILLIAM P. ISELE, ESQ. Past NJ Ombudsman for the Elderly
-MARTIN A. SPIGNER, ESQ. Law Office of Martin A. Spigner, Cranbury
-ADAM DUBECK, Esq.
$160.00 General   Tuition, reduced fee for NJSBA Elder & Disability Law Section and NJSBA Young Lawyers Division
[Free for Superior Court Judges] Seminar #S57800S4
NJSBA Member Price is reduced – To qualify for this reduced price, you must provide your NJSBA Member# at the time you place your order. If you place your order without providing your NJSBA Member#, you will be charged the regular price.
          More details contact New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education 
The non-profit continuing education service of 
The New Jersey State Bar Association  Constitution Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-1520 
Phone: (732) 214-8500 • Fax: (732)249-0383 • CustomerService@njicle.com
         NJ CLE INFORMATION: This program has been approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 4.6 hours of total CLE credit. Of these, 1.2 qualify as hours of credit for ethics/professionalism.


         Presented in cooperation with the NJSBA Elder & Disability Law Section and NJSBA Young Lawyers Division

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Ken Vercammen Esq. of Edison joined the AARP Legal Services Network in 2013

Ken Vercammen Esq. of Edison joined the AARP Legal Services Network in 2013

The AARP Legal Services Network was established by the AARP in response to membership needs. The AARP recognized that many people over the age of 50 have legal matters that require the services of an attorney. They also recognized that many of these problems could be solved in a single consultation with counsel. As a result, one of the benefits of the Network is that members of the AARP are automatically entitled to a consultation with an AARP Legal Services Network provider, at no cost to the member. Legal matters are certainly not limited to elder law issues, estate planning or similar matters, but include a wide variety of additional legal issues, such as general business matters, personal injury, and a host of others. Source: http://www.kramerlaw.biz/aarp.html
      With particular regard to Probate and Estate Administration, AARP members, through the Legal Services Network, are entitled not only to a free consultation with a participating attorney, but also to a 20% fee reduction on legal matters undertaken by the participating attorney. These matters include estate planning, probate and all other legal areas where service is provided to an AARP member by a participating attorney.

Everyone should have a Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will.

      Recommendations for AARP members. Contact the AARP attorney directly to schedule an appointment by telephone or e-mail to schedule an appointment. For Probate and Wills in Central NJ, call Kenneth Vercammen’s Law Office in Edison 732-572-0500. Outside this area call AARP at 1-800-424-3410 or go to website https://www.aarplsn.com/lsn/search.do
     When you call to make your appointment with an AARP Listed Attorney, notify them that you found them through the Legal Services Network. If you are an AARP member, provide them your AARP membership number to ensure you are offered AARP member benefits.
     Work directly with the AARP  Attorney regarding your legal matter. All legal services are handled through the attorney, so attorney fees are paid directly to your attorney. There are no claim forms to fill out.
     Take advantage of the free consultation on Probate and Estate Administration and determine next steps with your attorney.        Come prepared and on time to your appointment and bring your AARP membership card.
     We will for a written fee agreement if you intend to retain him/her.
      Chances are, you've been in a situation where you could benefit from legal assistance.  Have you ever been in an accident? Has a motor vehicle or criminal complaint been filed against you or a member of your family? Many individuals face these and other types of problems.  Yet finding an who understands the needs of seniors is difficult.  That's why the AARP offers you valuable free and discounted legal services, without any fee or enrollment cost.
      This means you can prevent legal problems before they occur. Most important, you can have peace of mind.

       Understanding the 20% Discount Benefit. There are many factors surrounding fees for attorneys’ services. They are: time and effort, geographic location, outcome, advice, difficulty of a case, experience, Prominence of the lawyer, preferred client discount and overhead. Understanding all of these factors, understanding the billing process and having a basic knowledge as to how attorneys charge for their services may help you prior to hiring a Legal Services Network attorney to handle a legal matter on your behalf. Standard payment arrangements may include the following: hourly rates, flat rates and retainers. Here are some examples of how the 20% discount would apply.
There are typically 2 ways the 20% discount could be applied based on your particular legal situation. They are: (1) on an hourly rate basis and (2) a flat rate fee basis. Additionally, an attorney may ask for a retainer fee prior to handling your legal matter.
Hourly Rate:     This is the most common arrangement in Probate cases and Estate Administration. In this instance, the attorney gets paid based upon their hourly rate for the hours they work on your case until the legal matter is concluded. For Example:     If an attorney charges $350 per hour, 20% off would equal an hourly rate of $275 per hour you would owe the attorney for the total number of hours worked on the matter plus any out of pocket expenses such as postage, filing fees, photocopies, etc. 
      Flat Rate Fee: This is an arrangement where an attorney charges you a set fee for the service being provided based on a normal number of hours the attorney expects to work on the matter. Such types of services could be, but are not limited to, standard lease agreements, Power of Attorney, Simple Will,  Living Will For Example: If an attorney charges a flat fee of $500 for a Will, AARP members receive a 20% discount.
      Retainer Fee:  In most cases, the attorney will require the Retainer fee. A retainer fee is usually a pre-payment made at the beginning of legal representation based on an estimate of how much time a matter is going to take. The amount of the retainer should take into account the 20% discount on the hourly rate charged. If the matter costs more than the amount of the retainer, you will be responsible for the additional payments.          .
      If the matter costs less than the amount of the retainer you will receive money back. In some instances, a retainer may take on the form of a flat fee to represent a client on a specific matter, regardless of how much time or effort is involved in the representation. In many instances, this arrangement is typical in cases such as criminal matters.

      Hopefully, this information has provided some insight into the operating standards of a law office that participates in our Legal Services Network.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eldercare Locator

Quick Links: Skip to main page contentSkip Navigation

Results for EDISON, NJ

Welcome to the Search Results Page. Below is a listing of resources in your community that provide information and assistance for older adults and caregivers. To learn more about each type of agency access the Learn more button located next to each service.
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Information and Assistance Learn more

  Coverage Area

Middlesex County Department on Aging and Disabled Services

Address :75 Bayard Street
 5th Floor
City :New Brunswick
State :NJ
Zip :08901
Website :http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us External Web Site Policy
Contact Email :answersonaging@co.middlesex.nj.us
Office Phone :(732) 745-3295
Information Phone :(732) 745-3295
State Phone :(877) 222-3737
Languages :English,Norwegian,Spanish
Description :The Office of Aging and Disabled Services also directly provides information and assistance, medicare insurance counseling, care management for specific programs, congregate and home delivered meals.
Hours :8:30 AM - 4:15 PM - Eastern Time, Monday-Friday
Directions :Downtown New Brunswick next to County Courthouse at corners of Bayard, Kirkpatrick and Patterson Streets View on map External Web Site Policy

Area Agencies on Aging Learn more

 

Middlesex County Department on Aging and Disabled Services

Address :75 Bayard Street
 5th Floor
City :New Brunswick
State :NJ
Zip :08901
Website :http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us External Web Site Policy
Contact Email :answersonaging@co.middlesex.nj.us
Office Phone :(732) 745-3295
Information Phone :(732) 745-3295
State Phone :(877) 222-3737
Languages :English,Norwegian,Spanish
Description :The Office of Aging and Disabled Services also directly provides information and assistance, medicare insurance counseling, care management for specific programs, congregate and home delivered meals.
Hours :8:30 AM - 4:15 PM - Eastern Time, Monday-Friday
Directions :Downtown New Brunswick next to County Courthouse at corners of Bayard, Kirkpatrick and Patterson Streets View on map External Web Site Policy

State Agency on Aging Learn more

 

New Jersey Division of Aging and Community Services

Address :240 West State Street
 9th Floor
City :Trenton
State :NJ
Zip :08625
Website :http://www.state.nj.us./health External Web Site Policy
Contact Email :acs@doh.state.nj.us
Office Phone :(609) 943-3345
Information Phone :(609) 943-3437
National Toll Free Phone :(877) 222-3737
State Phone :(800) 792-8820
Hours :8:30 AM - 5:00 PM - Eastern Time
Directions :View on map External Web Site Policy

Elder Abuse Prevention Learn more

  Coverage Area

Middlesex County Board of Social Services

Address :181 How Lane
City :New Brunswick
State :NJ
Zip :08901
Office Phone :(732) 745-3500
Information Phone :(732) 745-3500
Languages :,Spanish
Hours :8:30 AM - 4:15 PM - Eastern Time, M-F
Directions :View on map External Web Site Policy

Health Insurance Counseling Learn more

  Coverage Area

Middlesex County Office on Aging

Address :JFK Square
 75 Bayard Street
City :New Brunswick
State :NJ
Zip :08901
Website :http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us External Web Site Policy
Office Phone :(732) 745-3295
Information Phone :(732) 745-3295
National Toll Free Phone :(877) 222-3737
State Phone :(877) 222-3737
Languages :,Gujarati,Latvian,Norwegian,Spanish
Hours :8:30 AM - 4:15 PM - Eastern Time
Directions :View on map External Web Site Policy

Long-term Care Ombudsman Learn more

  Coverage Area

North Brunswick Senior Center

Address :15 Linwood Place
City :North Brunswick
State :NJ
Zip :08902
Office Phone :(732) 247-0922 ext.820
Information Phone :(732) 247-0922 ext.820
Directions :View on map External Web Site Policy