E-Newsletter of January 22, 2013 | Vol. 6, No. 3
THOUGHTS FROM THE CHAIR
In a decision released today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Estate of Arthur Ziel was ordered to pay more than $40,000 to a biohazard abatement company for cleaning out the home of the decedent. The estate was also required to pay nearly $30,000 in attorney fees for the cleaners, who filled nine dumpsters, and removed 793 bags of waste in order to make the home habitable again. To read the case, click here.
Reading the decision, I was struck not by the issues of law addressed by the court, but rather, how did Mr. Ziel’s living situation get so out of control? Were family members aware and trying to provide assistance? Were attempts to clean up the situation met with resistance? Was Mr. Ziel suffering from a cognitive decline or mental health issue?
We see these situations every day, and it is a constant struggle to connect clients with needed services in the midst of budget deficits and cost cutting measures. Minnesota faces a $1.1 billion budget deficit, and as usual, the health and human services budget is likely to be targeted for additional cuts. For an article on the issue, click here.
The majority of those reading this newsletter likely have minimal involvement in the legislative process, but difficult times create hard choices. I believe it is time for all of us to consider how we can best advocate for our clients – not just after the fact of legislation, but as part of the process itself. So consider this a challenge – find out what issues are being discussed and addressed by your city council or county board. Attend hearings on bills being considered by the legislature in St. Paul. Submit opinion pieces to your local paper, or to this newsletter. Decisions are made by those who show up. I encourage each of you to take that to heart, and to make sure your voice is being heard.
Submitted by Laura Zdychnec, Esq.
PRO BONO COMMITTEE ANNOUNCEMENT
Lawyers in Minnesota have a professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal services to persons of limited means. Rule 6.1 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct suggests fulfilling this responsibility by—among other means—completing a substantial majority of 50 hours of free legal services for persons of limited means or organizations primarily serving persons of limited means.
The Elder Law Section’s Pro Bono Committee is dedicated to helping our section members fulfill their pro bono goals. Our mission includes working with existing pro bono programs and service organizations to raise awareness of pro bono opportunities among our section members and to connect them with existing pro bono programs. As we learn of new ways in which elder law attorneys can volunteer to help disadvantaged Minnesotans, we will regularly share those opportunities with our section members in the E-Newsletter.
Also, do not forget to utilize these other helpful MSBA resources:
· ProJusticeMN.org – includes resources and training materials, news and announcements, and a pro bono case placement tool;
· The North Star Lawyer Program – a new program recognizing MN lawyers who provide 50+ hours of pro bono service annually; and,
· CLEs – the MSBA regularly sponsors CLEs that are helpful in representing low-income clients.
CoContact Adam Rohne at (651) 646-1072 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for elder law pro bono opportunities.
SSubmitted by Adam Rohne, Esq.
Chair of the Pro Bono Committee
REQUEST FROM THE PUBLIC LAW SECTION
Our colleagues in the Public Law Section are seeking volunteers to help out with its involvement in the Loaves and Fishes program of Minnesota (www.loavesandfishesmn.org). Loaves and Fishes provides nutritious meals to the hungry of the Twin Cities area at site locations where the need is greatest. The Public Law Section organizes volunteers six times per year to prepare dinner for about 300 people at the Holy Rosary Church Loaves and Fishes site, located at 2424 18th Avenue South in Minneapolis.
The Public Law Section’s next volunteer opportunity is February 6th, but it will also seek help on the first Wednesday of April, June, August, October, and December. Volunteer work generally includes preparing the food and utensils and cleaning up of the cooking area. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Nancy McLean of the Public Law Section at Nancy.McLean@co.hennepin.mn.us.
Submitted by Adam Rohne, Esq.
Chair of the Pro Bono Committee
NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service).
The website provides links to publications and products that are free (just provide shipping and handling). The topics include Elder Abuse and Elderly Crime Victims, among others. You can search “elder” within “A-Z Publications/Products” for a list of their current publications or products. To visit the website, click here.
Submitted by Jill Sauber
Law Student Liaison to the Elder Law Section
Minnesota man, 24, defends grandparents who abducted him from his homeless mother 19 years ago | NY Daily News
Nursing homes, long-term care facilities more vulnerable to flu | MPR News
Our View: Everyone pays for crimes against the elderly | Post Bulletin
Area nursing homes cited for violations | Star Tribune
Senior Citizens with Failed Hip Implant Fear Second Surgery? | SFGate
Submitted by Joel Smith, Esq.
Minnesota Court of Appeals Unpublished Opinion of January 14, 2013:
In re the Guardianship of Gertrude A. Strgar, Ward.
Appellant-ward challenges the district court's denial of her petition to remove her court-appointed guardian or appoint a successor guardian.
Because the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the petition, we affirm.
The opinion is available here.
Unpublished opinions may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).
Submitted by Andrea Palumbo, Esq.
#13-21-01 2012 Legislative Changes for Medical Assistance for Employed Persons With Disabilities (MA-EPD) Program Enrollees
The 2012 Minnesota Legislature made several changes to Medical Assistance for Emplyed Persons With Disabilities (MA-EPD) program enrollees retroactive to April 1, 2012. The legislation eliminated the age requirements for MA-EPD eligibility. The legislation also changed certain financial eligibility rules when redetermining eligibility for basic Medical Assistance (MA) for individulas age 65 and over when MA-EPD eligibility ends. The complete bulletin, announced on January 17, 2013, can be found here.
Submitted by Marit Peterson, Esq.
There are no upcoming events or CLE programs to report this week.
MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2012. 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 email@example.com 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 of the Elder Law Section Governing Council will be on Friday, February 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm. 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.
For further information, please contact Laura Zdychnec, Chair, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Go to the Section Website