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E-Newsletter of June 19, 2012 | Vol. 4, No. 75



The MA Committee meeting has been rescheduled from today, Tuesday, June 19, to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2011. For more details, see below.


It has been a privilege to serve as Chair of the Elder Law Section for the past year.  Great leadership in the past makes it possible to have great leaders in the future, as we assist new lawyers into the field.  With approximately 518 members and a healthy account balance of approximately $18,538, the Elder Law Section has many opportunities in the future.   As Chair, I had several goals to further the mission of the Elder Law Section this year, including:

·      Strengthen networking with other practice areas.
·      Continue to focus on students and new attorneys.
·      Broaden resources to understand benefits and services available to clients.
·      Continue to help seasoned attorneys stay on top of changes in state/federal law and rules.
·      Greater commitment to understanding home-based programs and services.

I believe we made strides in each area, some with more gusto than others, and more work is to be done.  Looking at the goals, discussions have been ongoing with the Health Law Section in coordinating CLEs and sharing information.  Nine Days in June continues to include a panel discussion on elder issues with representatives from both the Health Law and Elder Law Sections.  New attorneys were encouraged to enter the field of Elder Law, largely through the work of the Law Student Committee.  The Law Student Committee hosted a panel discussion during the Elder Law Institute entitled “Starting Your Elder Law Practice” and a free CLE course to our members, in conjunction with the MSBA, entitled “Get to Know Elder Law.”  Mentoring new Elder Law Attorneys was a topic in many circles, and is ripe for formalizing such a program in the future.  Financial Exploitation was a topic of another free CLE offered through the Education Committee entitled, “Who are you Going to Call, Preventing Financial Exploitation,” also in conjunction with the MSBA.  Approximately 75 participants learned issues related to spotting financial exploitation and criminal and civil remedies.  The half-day format was quite successful and the Education Committee plans to host another similar CLE in the future. 

Efforts continued with the Medicaid State Plan Committee and meeting with David Godfrey of DHS regarding helping attorneys and the public stay on top of changes in administrative rules.  The Governing Council is discussing the future of this Committee and/or a Litigation Committee to secure judicial determinations in the rulemaking process as well as in other elder law issues.  As to home-based programs, the Elder Law Institute spotlighted discussions of Medicaid benefits and little know services such as food stamps and services for the visually impaired, but more work needs to be done to stay on top of changes in benefit programs for individuals who wish to stay in the community. 

The Strategic Planning Committee also helped the Section formalize several policies that will be helpful into the future, including a Budget Reserve Policy, Contribution Policy, and Organizational Endorsement Policy.  Finally, Cornerstones of the Elder Law Section continue to be effective as well, such as the E-Newsletter, the website, and the Elder Law Institute.  The Section is largely defined by such rich resources, and I look forward to a great future for the Elder Law Section!

Suzy Scheller, Chair of the Elder Law Section for 2011-2012

Link of the Week


The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that all federal benefits will be paid electronically. New enrollees and individuals receiving benefits must select an electronic payment method (direct deposit or prepaid debit card) by March 1, 2013.
Programs affected by the change include SSA, SSI, SSDI and VA benefits. Note: This rule does not affect state-issued benefits such as WIC and SNAP food benefits, or child support.
*      People who do not choose an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013, or at the time they apply for federal benefits, will receive payments via the Direct Express® card so they will not experience any interruption in payment.
*      People already receiving benefit payments electronically will continue to receive payment as usual on their payment date and do not need to take further action.
Created by the Treasury Department, the Go Direct® public education campaign enlists the support of more than 1,800 local, national and regional partner organizations to spread the word about the many benefits of direct deposit and the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card. Partners include banks, credit unions, social service agencies and community-based groups.
For more information about the Go Direct Campaign, visit

Submitted by Laurie Hanson, Esq.


Elder Law News


U.S. Consumer Bureau Seeks Input on Elder Financial Abuse | Bloomberg News

Consumer bureau launches inquiry into financial abuse of elderly | LA Times

Survey: More Than 4 Out Of 5 Experts Say Financial Abuse Of Elderly Is Getting Worse | MarketWatch

Health care law delivers free preventive services to 129,126 with Medicare in Minnesota | Hometown Source

Minnesota's Medicaid program under investigation by yet another federal agency | Pioneer Press

Medicaid numbers spike in Minnesota – The number of Minnesotans on Medicaid is growing faster than in most other states, and so is the cost | Star Tribune

In new safety test, not all Minnesota hospitals earn A | Star Tribune

Senior citizen housing option offers community feel | USA Today

Health beat: For tips to keep fit, ask those over 100 | Star Tribune

Submitted by Joel Smith, Esq.

Elder Law Cases


In re the Guardianship Christine Rose Samson, Proposed Ward and Protected Person

Chutich, Judge
St. Louis County District Court

Filed June 18, 2012

Appellant Ludwig Samson challenges a district court order dismissing his petition to be appointed as his mother’s guardian, arguing that the court erred by (1) requiring a physician’s statement to support his petition for guardianship; (2) determining that a durable power of attorney executed by his mother provides a less restrictive alternative to guardianship; and (3) failing to hold an evidentiary hearing or determine his mother’s best interests. Because the district court properly dismissed the case, we affirm.
This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2010).

The opinion is available here.

Submitted by Andrea Palumbo, Esq.

Elder Law Statutes, Regulations, and Bulletins

DHS announced the following on June 14th, 2012:

DHS Bulletin #12-21-05C Corrected- MinnesotaCare Eligibility for Adults Without Children. The purpose of this bulletin is to correct policy regarding 40 qualifying work quarters when implementing August 1, 2011, changes to MinnesotaCare eligibility for certain adults without children. The complete Bulletin, released June 14, 2012,  can be found here.

Submitted by Marit Anne Peterson, Esq.

Upcoming Events and CLE Programs

SAVE THE DATE!  The 22nd Annual Elder Law Institute will be held on October 11-12, 2012 at the Minnesota CLE Center in Minneapolis. 


Elder Law Section Activities


MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2011. The Medical Assistance Committee is a study group to analyze Elder Law Section member questions and case studies and to discuss administrative policies and procedures in relation to Medical Assistance in Minnesota.  Cathryn D. Reher of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., is Committee Chair.  For directions, or to attend by phone, please contact Tracie Fenske with Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., at 952-929-0622 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. Topics for the meeting may be submitted to under the subject heading “MA Committee Topic”, or faxed to 952-542-9201. Please be reminded that the meeting location is: Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418. The meeting takes place in the building’s conference room. There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.

GOVERNING COUNCIL:  The next meeting will be held in August. The meetings will be held at the offices of the Volunteers of America (VOA) at 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, MN 55418. For further information, please contact Suzy Scheller, Chair, at:


Elder Law Website


DON'T FORGET THAT THE ELDER LAW WEBSITE IS A GREAT RESOURCE. Here’s what you can find on the Website:  Links to the DHS Health Care Programs Manual, the DHS Bulletin on treatment of uncompensated transfers, the Minnesota Bankers Association Compliance Bulletin on Powers of Attorney, legislative summary; Practice Links to organizations such as NAELA, ABA Commission on Law and Aging, Links to Federal and State Government Agencies, Statutes, and Regulations; Meeting Notices, Listings of Officers and Council Members, Section Bylaws, and more.


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