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Elder Law & Medicaid Planning

A New Jersey trial court grants summary judgment to a nursing home resident’s agent under a power of attorney in a lawsuit by the nursing home for payment of the resident’s unpaid bill and orders that the nursing home pay attorney’s fees and costs. Hampton Ridge Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center v. Wright (N.J. Super. Ct., No. L-2335-16, Nov. 1, 2017).

Charles Douglas was an agent under a power of attorney for his aunt, Idella Wright. Ms. Wright entered a nursing home, and Mr. Douglas signed the admission agreement as the responsible party. Mr. Douglas assigned Ms. Wright’s Social Security payments to the nursing home, but Ms. Wright died owing $18,322 to the nursing home.

The nursing home sued Mr. Douglas for failing to timely apply for Medicaid benefits and to pay the final bill. Mr. Douglas filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he was not personally liable because New Jersey law prohibits a nursing home from requiring a third-party guarantee as a condition of admission. The trial court granted Mr. Douglas summary judgment and he filed a motion for attorney’s fees.

The New Jersey Superior court orders that the nursing home pay attorney’s fees and costs. The court holds that the claim Mr. Douglas was forced to defend against was brought “in contravention” of the “clear and unambiguous statutory language” insulating third parties from personal financial liability.

My Dad used to like to say that he was going to spend his last dollar on the last day of his life.  It was a fairly ambitious goal that reflected his desire to get the most out of life and enjoy the fruits of his lifetime of labor.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.  He died of an aneurism before he was even able to fully retire.  That was the bad news. The good news was that he left my Mom in very good financial shape, so she doesn’t have to worry about money (although she still does).

Working hard, saving smart and good estate planning helped my Dad to at least partially reach his goal of security in his later years, even if it was only for his wife.  Not unlike Warren Buffet, my father wanted his children to make their own way, earn their own financial security and not rely on some largesse that may or may not come from Daddy.  Hand in hand with that view was the money he earned belonged to him.  He earned it.  He sacrificed to save it, so why should the government take ANY of it?  The government didn’t earn it, he did.

All of this brings me to the point of this post.  An article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal highlighted the importance as well as the changing nature of estate planning.  The central message of the article is that not only is estate planning crucial to avoiding estate taxes upon your death, but managing your income tax obligations while you are still alive is crucial for preserving your wealth and should be a part of every comprehensive estate plan.  Anyone with a television or an internet connection can tell you that who should be taxed and how much is a hot political topic and the trend is heading higher on both counts.  While higher taxes and newer ways for the government to put its hand into your pocket are the bad news, the good news is that there are a number of tools and strategies that you can employ to structure your financial security and legacy as you see fit.

Each individual and family is different and each requires an attorney who will listen to their wishes, and develop a customized plan that’s right for them.  At Tiboni and Tiboni, we’ll take the time to get to know you, understand your wishes and work with you to create the right plan for you.  IT’S YOUR MONEY!!  YOU worked hard, sacrificed and saved to get where you are financially.  YOU should decide where your hard-earned money goes when your time is up, not some Uncle Sam that lives in Washington, or some other creepy uncle in Trenton or Albany just waiting to get their hands on your cash.

My Dad ran out of time to see the fulfillment of his plan, but he had a plan and that plan is providing for my Mom to this day.  She will never have to worry about financial security.  Give us a call and let us help you to make your plan today!

Featured on FoxSearchLight.com, February 8, 2011

CameronCook on February 8th, 2011

The cast and crew of Tom McCarthy’s WIN WIN discuss the film with their Sundance audience.

Article on The Alternative Press, February 21, 2011

View article and pictures on TheAlternativePress.com

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence native and current resident Joe Tiboni wasn’t a good wrestler back in high school.  “Wrestling in high school when not good at it is one of the most humbling experiences.  You’re basically wearing tights and you get beat up in front of your friends and family,” he told The Alternative Press.  The humility that Joe was taught as a wrestler at New Providence High School is still evident today despite his successful law practice on South Street and his new-found stardom as the co-writer of Win-Win, set to hit theaters March 18th.  Tiboni co-wrote the story with childhood friend and wrestling teammate at New Providence High School Tom McCarthy, an award-winning screenwriter for films such as The Station Agent and The Visitor.  “We turned our wrestling humiliation into something positive – – it’s our own form of personal therapy,” Tiboni said.

Tiboni began gathering information for the screenplay several years ago at the encouragement of Tom who urged him to keep a notebook to record in general terms stories of Tiboni’s elder law clients.  “I have fascinating clients with terrific stories.  People who lived through World War II, Holocaust survivors, the Great Depression, people who fought in Vietnam, even the secretary to John Lennon,” Tiboni said.  “It’s a built-in story mill.  As a bonus for helping people, I get to hear their stories,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni create a movie starring award-winning actor Paul Giamatti — and New Providence itself.

Article on Patch.com, By Michelle Colandrea | February 18, 2011

Win Win movie trailer features numerous references to New Providence High School. The film will be out in limited release on March 18. Courtesy of You Tube.


If you aren’t already wearing your favorite New Providence logo high school sweatshirt, it’s time to dig yours out of the closet because this town and its landmark high school are about to be famous.

By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Win Win, a new film that features acclaimed actor Paul Giamatti in a hooded green-and-gold New Providence Pioneers sweatshirt and numerous scenes from an eerily familiar high-school gymnasium. Read the rest of this entry »

New Providence News at the Independent Press on NJ.com

By Liz Keill/Independent Press
Published: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 10:17 AM     Updated: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 2:21 PM

NEW PROVIDENCE — “Win Win,” a new movie that has received kudos at the Sundance Film Festival, is putting New Providence on the map far beyond the borders of New Jersey.

Joe Tiboni, a borough resident and attorney, combined his expertise in elder law with a love of writing to collaborate with his friend Tom McCarthy for “Win/Win.”

McCarthy, has has had major successes with “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor” as well as writing the script for the animated film, “Up.” McCarthy also grew up in New Providence and the two have been friends since they were 10 years old.

Liz Keill AUTHOR AT WORK — Joe Tiboni, screenwriter for “Win Win” is back at his “regular” job at his law office in New Providence.

“This is a little different from his other movies,” Tiboni said of McCarthy’s serious takes on illegal immigrants in “The Visitor” and a dwarf (Peter Dinklage of Mendham) who inherits an abandoned train station in “The Station Agent.” The new movie is a comedy, yet it also deals with the elderly and how they can be mistreated. Tiboni observed that laughter can often make a point better than tragedy can.

In the film, Paul Giamatti plays an eldercare lawyer, Mike Flaherty, much like Tiboni. They both have two daughters and enjoy wrestling. But there, the similarity ends. Flaherty puts his client in a nursing home in a scheme to save his own business, something Tiboni said he would never do. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Win Win” Trailer
About the Movie
Win Win is based on the story by Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni. When a disheartened attorney moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach stumbles across a star athlete, things seem to be looking up. That is, until the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor.
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