I know many of our readers enjoy the articles published in the Queens Jewish Link written by the elder law attorneys at Ronald Fatoullah & Associates. Twice a month, various elder care topics are discussed, including information on trusts and estates, the importance of preparing advance directives, planning for long-term care, and applying for Medicaid.

On Wednesday, May 22, I attended Ronald Fatoullah & Associates’ annual Medicaid and Elder Law Luncheon. This is their signature annual event for professionals.

The luncheon took place at Russo’s on the Bay, in Howard Beach, and there were close to 300 attendees. The guests shared a delicious buffet overlooking the water, and kosher meals were provided by Abigael’s on Broadway. Lunch and networking was followed by an educational and entertaining presentation by Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., Stacey Meshnick, Esq., Debby Rosenfeld, Esq., Eva Schwechter, Esq., and Adam D. Solomon, Esq., attorneys at the Law Offices of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates.

I learned that the firm has been helping many senior citizens and their families with the legal and financial challenges of aging and asset protection for over 30 years. The firm also focuses on Medicaid planning and applications, trusts and estates, estate tax planning, estate litigation, probate and administration, guardianships, special needs planning, and real estate. Mr. Fatoullah introduced all of the attorneys and explained their areas of expertise. He also took the time to introduce and thank all of the paralegals and the firm’s support staff.

Mr. Fatoullah began by providing an overview of new regulations pertaining to VA Aid and Attendance benefits. As of October, 18, 2019, the VA now requires a three-year look-back provision on any financial gifts made on or after that date. In addition, there is now an asset limit of $123,600, and this number will be indexed to inflation. He also discussed a new bipartisan bill before Congress that is designed to get more part-time workers saving for retirement but will have a huge impact on planning with retirement accounts.

Debby Rosenfeld, Esq. has been with the firm for over 15 years. Ms. Rosenfeld spoke about New York’s Spousal Right of Election and explained that it protects a surviving spouse from being completely disinherited from the estate of the deceased spouse. A surviving spouse is entitled to take the larger of $50,000 or one-third (1/3) of the deceased spouse’s net estate. This is known as the “elective share.”

Adam D. Solomon, Esq, spoke about the emotion and family dynamics that can be involved when a loved one dies and that, with proper planning, an individual can plan to effectively alleviate estate litigation.

Eva Schwechter, Esq. oversees the guardianship department of the firm, and she spoke about the importance of proper planning and having advanced directives in place. I learned that without a properly drafted New York Power of Attorney, a nursing home or loved one might need to petition for guardianship, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

Finally, Stacey Meshnick, Esq., the Medicaid Supervisor, discussed the ever-changing Medicaid arena affecting nursing homes, home care agencies, geriatric care managers, and social workers. She also gave a comprehensive discussion regarding Medicaid recovery issues and promissory notes, reminding everyone that it is not necessary to spend-down all of an individual’s resources in order to qualify for Medicaid, as there are options. Ms. Meshnick has been with Ronald Fatoullah & Associates for over 24 years.

I learned that each Monday, the entire attorney staff of the firm participates in a lengthy and comprehensive meeting wherein each new case is discussed in detail. This collaborative technique enables the members of the team to utilize each of their strengths and ensure the best solution for each and every client. In addition, Mr. Fatoullah is a partner with Advice Period, a company that provides wealth planning and financial management, and he brings extensive financial expertise and knowledge, which benefits their clients in asset planning and protection.

Before the meeting ended, Tina Hardekopf, Director of Development for the Alzheimer’s Association LI Chapter, gave an interesting and informative overview of all of the upcoming Walks to End Alzheimer’s throughout Long Island and the boroughs. Ms. Hardekopf discussed the strides that are being made in research and the opportunities for everyone to be involved and make a difference. Mr. Fatoullah presented the LI Alzheimer’s Association a check for the firm’s sponsorship of the upcoming walks.

Ronald Fatoullah ended the meeting with announcements about community seminars, in-service presentations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and he noted that the attorneys at the firm are available for speaking engagements.

Please enjoy the attached photograph from the event, including yours truly, taken by the talented photographer, Statia Grossman. I had a wonderful time and can’t wait for next year’s event!