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MSBA ELDER LAW SECTION

2011-12 Annual Report

Mission Statement for the Elder Law Section
Activities of the Elder Law Section are guided by the following Mission Statement:
The section shall be dedicated to the field of Elder Law and related areas of the law by enhancing the skills of Minnesota lawyers practicing in the area, and by serving as a liaison with other parts of the Bar Association and the public on issues and activities related to Elder Law.

Section Membership
As of June 14, 2012, the Elder Law Section has 518 members.  This represents a 2% increase in membership since July 1, 2011.

Financial Status
The Elder Law Section had an account balance of $18,538.13 in cash and investments as of April 30, 2012, which is approximately the same account balance as last year at this time.  The budget for the Elder Law Section is $13,025.  Our Strategic Planning Committee set a policy of holding 50% of the budget in reserves. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and 2011 Elder Law Institute

Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees

2/23/2012

Who Are You Going to Call?  Preventing Financial Exploitation of Elders and What to Do When It Happens

163995 / 2.5 Std;
1.0 Ethics

77

3/13/2012

Get to Know Elder Law

165178 / 1.0 Standard

51

Also with the MSBA Health Law Section, the Elder Law Section co-sponsored a presentation entitled, “Legal Issues at the End of Life,” at four of the MSBA’s 9 Days in June sites in June 2011.  The program was well received at all four locations last year and was well attended again in June 2012 at four more sites – Willmar, Alexandria, Mankato and Bemidji.  Members of the Elder Law Section were featured on a panel discussion of issues lawyers should be aware of when dealing with elderly or terminally ill clients.

The 2011 Elder Law Institute was held on October 6 & 7, 2011, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in downtown Minneapolis.  The theme of the Institute was “More than Medical Assistance,” to reflect the shifting Elder Law practice into everything from food stamps to unbefriended elders.  Speakers included Lucinda Jesson, DHS Commissioner, David Godfrey, Medicaid Director and countless Elder Law Section members for a total of approximately 48 presenters.  Topics included health reform, family law, veteran’s benefits, medical malpractice, mediation, and corporate farm law.  A total of 226 individuals attended the Institute, which is down from 260 attendees in 2010 but similar to the number of attendees in 2009, at 237.

The course book for the 2011 Elder Law Institute is available for purchase at:  http://www.minncle.org/PublicationDetail.aspx?ID=5034412.

Awards and Recognition
The Mary Alice Gooderl Award is presented annually to acknowledge outstanding achievement and commitment to the field of Elder Law.  At the 2011 Elder Law Institute, the award was presented to A. Kimberley Dayton, Professor at William Mitchell College of Law.

Legislation and Amicus Briefs
The Elder Law Section did not submit any legislative proposals or amicus briefs in the 2011-12 term.

E-Newsletter
The Elder Law Section continues to publish a weekly E-Newsletter to all of its members.  The content of the E-Newsletter includes items of interest to elder lawyers and their clients, including news stories, important website links (provided by the Law Student Committee), recent cases, DHS bulletins, and upcoming CLEs.  Past E-newsletters are published on the Section’s website at:  http://www.mnbar.org/sections/elder-law/newsletter.asp.

Website
The section continued to maintain a website with varied information relevant to the Section, including past E-Newsletters, resources, the Medicaid State Plan Amendments, and other documents.  The website can be found at:
http://www.mnbar.org/sections/elder-law/committee.asp

Other Section Accomplishments
Several Committees continue to be active in the Elder Law Section, including the Medical Assistance Committee, the Education Committee, the Law Student Committee, the Communications Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee.  Each Governing Council member is asked to serve on a Committee to complete tasks to further the work of the Section.  Much of the work benefiting Section members comes through Committee efforts and their work is appreciated.  Significant Committee work includes:

Strategic Planning CommitteeSetting Budget Reserve Policy, Contribution Policy, Organizational Endorsement Policy, and other issues (Strategic Planning Committee)

  • Reserves.  Of significance, the Strategic Planning committee recommended the following uses of $7,800 in excess funds to spend down reserves:

    • Solicit proposals from the Governing Council and Section

    • Host CLE’s that are free to Section members

    • Host a New Lawyer’s event

    • Secure a “big name” speaker for the Elder Law Institute

  • Policies.  The following are the policies recommended by the Strategic Plan Committee and approved by the Governing Council:

    • Budget Reserve Policy.  The Elder Law Section’s reserve policy shall be to hold 50% of annual budgeted revenue in reserve.

    • Contribution Policy.  The Elder Law Section shall consider only those contribution requests that provide a direct benefit to section members.

    • Organizational Endorsement Policy.  The Elder Law Section shall consider adopting a public opinion endorsing only those projects or organizations that provide services directly related to or supporting the practice of Elder Law.  If the section Governing Council votes to endorse a project or organization, a vote of section membership shall then be taken to validate the endorsement.  If section membership votes to endorse, the endorsement request shall then be submitted to the MSBA for approval.  The Governing Council may, under special circumstances, vote to approve an endorsement as an exception to policy, subject to membership and MSBA approval.

Law Student Committee

  • Host a “Starting Your Elder Law Practice” breakout session at the Elder Law Institute.

  • Host a “Get to Know Elder Law” CLE on 3/13/2012.

  • Conduct ten Law Student Committee meetings.

Education Committee

  • Host “Who Are You Going to Call?  Preventing Financial Exploitation of Elders and What to Do When It Happens” CLE on 2/23/2012

Medicaid State Plan Committee

  • Securing an updated copy of the Medicaid State Plan, although without amendments tracked, which William Mitchell College of Law intends to do in an online version of the Plan.

  • Furthering discussion with DHS on information and document flow to consumers and attorneys.

  • Meeting with David Godfrey, State Medicaid Director at DHS on two occasions.

Goals of the Chair for the Elder Law Section
The following are aspirational goals for the Elder Law Section in 2011 – 2012 and the corresponding results of efforts to meet those goals::

  • Strengthen networking with other practice areas, based on the interdisciplinary issues faced by our clients.

    • Groundwork was laid for greater communication between the Health Law and Elder Law Section, with the discussions between the Chairs of the Elder Law and Health Law sections.  The next step would be to attend a Health Law Section Governing Council meeting.

    • Further efforts should be made to reach out to the Litigation Committee, particularly if the Elder Law Section moves in the direction of litigating key issues

  • Continue to include students and new attorneys

    • “Get to Know Elder Law” CLE continued conversations with new lawyers looking to practice Elder Law.  The event was hosted on March 13, 2012 by the Law Student Committee of the Section in conjunction with the MSBA. 

    • A break-out session at the Elder Law Institute also informed others on becoming an Elder Lawyer.

    • Law students continue to be represented on the Section’s Law Student Committee and as Governing Council Student Members.

    • Interest in a mentor program was expressed with the next steps being coordination.

  • Broaden resources to understand benefits and services available to clients.

    • A break-out session at the Elder Law Institute focused on two little known benefits for elderly clients – food stamps and services for the visually impaired.

    • Financial exploitation has become a significant issue.  The CLE “Who Are You Going To Call” regarding preventing and responding to Financial Exploitation was presented by the Elder Law Section’s Education Committee and the MSBA.  The event was well attended and particularly highlighted criminal and civil remedies.

  • Continue to help seasoned attorneys stay on top of changes in state and federal law and rules.

    • The Medicaid State Plan Committee made inroads in getting changes made to the plan and students from William Mitchell will work on tracking the changes

    • Discussions with DHS provided more insight into rulemaking and where gaps in notice may occur.  The State Registry is more well-known as a source for public notice for proposed rule-making.  Such notices are now placed in the E-Newsletter for the Section.

    • A proposal to add a Litigation Committee or change to the Medicaid State Plan committee is currently being discussed to determine if members of the Section believe it important to use the court system for clearer guidance for Elder Law attorneys in a variety of areas.

  • Greater commitment to understanding home-based programs and services, since they will be used more in the future.

    • Information was presented at the Elder Law Institute on home-based programs and services.

    • More efforts must be done in this area. 

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Elder Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with the Section’s regular Governing Council meeting on Friday, June 15, 2012, in Minneapolis, MN.

Officers
Chair – Laura Zdychnec
Vice Chair - David Rephan
Secretary – John Kantke
Treasurer – Lori Skibbie

Governing Council (serving either a new two year term or continuing a term for one more year)

Current and Returning Members:                 
Vicki Ahl                                                       
Stuart Bear                                                     
Joel Button                                                    
Kathleen Eveslage                                         
Margaret Grathwol
Richard Hawke                                              
Paulette Joyer
Kenneth LaBore                    
Theresa Lewis                       
Vicki McIntyre                                              
Kristine Mullmann    
Laura Orr
Cathryn Reher
Suzanne Sandahl
Suzy Scheller
Joel Smith
Dan Steinhagen
Julian Zweber

New Members:
Mary Frances Price
Sheila Kelly
Andrea Wing
Ja Paul Harris
Stuart Deuring
Allison Burke
Adam Rohne

Members Leaving the Board:
Sally Mortenson
Marjorie Austin
Sarah Rowley
Jennifer Lammers
Jennifer Wright

Law Student Liaisons (serving a one year term ending June 2013)
Brenna Galvin – William Mitchell
Courtney Allensworth – William Mitchell
Dustin Bethke – Hamline

Following the Annual Meeting, the following were Committees and Chairs appointed:

Elder Law Section Committee Chairs for 2012-2013
Awards Committee: Julian Zweber and Stuart Bear
Bylaws Committee: Dick Hawke and Tom O’Connell*

Communication Committee:  Joel Button
Education Committee: Jill Adkins*
Law Student Committee: Laura Orr
Legislative Committee: Julian Zweber
Medicaid State Plan: Stuart Deuring and Tom O’Connell*  (uncertain of future of committee)
Medical Assistance:  Cathryn Reher
Newsletter Editor: Allison Burke
Nominations Committee: Dan Steinhagen
Pro Bono Committee:  Adam Rohne
Strategic Planning Committee: Jennifer Wright*
Vulnerable Adult Committee: Ken LaBore and Suzy Scheller
*
indicates committee chairs who are ex-officio (non-elected) members of the council

MSBA Assembly representative:
Andrea Wing

MSBA Alternate
Mary Frances Price

MSBA Legislative Committee Representative
Julian Zweber

I have enjoyed my time as Chair of the Elder Law Section and recognize many in our Section who work hard on behalf of our clients.

Respectfully Submitted By:
Suzanne Scheller, Section Chair

 

2010-11 Annual Report

Section Membership and Organization
As of June 22, 2011, the Elder Law Section has 511 members.  This represents a 3% increase in membership since July 2010.Thirteen standing committees were actively involved in providing services to section membership during the year.  The Governing Council, consisting of 29 elected voting members, four student members, and three ex-officio members, met six times during 2010-11.  The section held its annual meeting at the offices of Estate and Elder Law Services, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, on June 17, 2011. 

Section Finances
The Elder Law Section had an account balance of $18,662.59 as of April 30, 2011, an increase of approximately $3,500 over its ending balance for 2009-10. 

Elder Law Institute
The 2010 Elder Law Institute was held on October 7 & 8, 2010, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in downtown Minneapolis.  The Keynote Speaker was Gene Coffey, attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Washington, D.C., who spoke on how the new health care reform legislation impacts seniors.  The program included fifteen specialized breakout sessions (including 1.0 hours of ethics credit and 2.0 hours of elimination of bias credit.)  Topics of “short shots” and other plenary sessions included UTMA, Veterans Homes, veterans’ benefits, Elderly Waiver, federal estate taxes, and local efforts in advance care planning.  A “Basics” track was also offered, including sessions on Medical Assistance eligibility, Medical Assistance estate recovery, and navigating a guardianship/conservatorship petition. 

The course book for the 2010 Elder Law Institute is available for purchase at:  http://www.minncle.org/PublicationDetail.aspx?ID=5074511

Awards and Recognition
During the Elder Law Institute, the Mary Alice Gooderl Award, which is presented annually to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the field of elder law, was presented Bryan Jamison of Jamison & Jamison, P.A., in Shoreview, Minnesota

9 Days in June CLE Presentations
With the MSBA Health Law Section, the Elder Law Section co-sponsored a presentation entitled, “Legal Issues at the End of Life,” at four of the MSBA’s 9 Days in June sites.  The program was well received at all four locations – Duluth, Mankato, Prior Lake and Blaine, and featured a panel discussion of issues lawyers should be aware of when dealing with elderly or terminally ill clients.

Medical Assistance Forums
The section continued to provide a bi-monthly forum on Medical Assistance issues, open to all who wish to attend.  Although no CLE credit is given for the forums, the discussions and information on cutting-edge issues relating to Medical Assistance in Minnesota have provided a valuable benefit to practitioners.

Pro Bono/Volunteer Service Activities
During 2010-11, the section participated in the following pro bono/volunteer service activities:

  • National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) - For the fourth year, the section served as a state liaison for NHDD, a nationwide program committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.  On April 16th of each year, hundreds of NHDD events are held around the country.  In Minnesota, NHDD attendees have the opportunity to learn more about and complete a Minnesota Health Care Directive.  More information about NHDD is available on the state website at:  www.mnhealthcaredecisions.info.
  • ProJustice Minnesota Website -  The section provided new content for the Elder Law area of the Civic Law Practice Area Library on the ProJustice Minnesota website.  The materials are available as a resource for attorneys wishing to engage in pro bono activities involving Elder Law.
  • Spring Service Project – The Law Student Committee worked on its second Spring Service Project, assisting Estate and Elder Law Services with organizing its existing client files in its new office setting on April 29 and May 9. 
  • Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults Brochure - The section revised and made available to the public a brochure detailing the law and remedies regarding physical, mental, or financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
  • Minnesota Medicaid State Plan - The section formed a new Medicaid State Plan committee, to maintain access to the up-to-date State Plan and to seek effective input into the process of state plan amendments.  The State Plan is now available online at Practicelaw.org. 

Website
The section continued to maintain a website, which was updated and revised during 2010-11.  The website is available at:  http://www2.mnbar.org/sections/elder-law/index.asp

e-Newsletter
The section also continued to publish a weekly e-Newsletter, which is distributed via email to all section members each Tuesday and which is posted online on the Elder Law Section’s webpage. The e-Newsletter provides information on section activities, upcoming educational opportunities and CLEs, news items about elder law issues, published and unpublished cases pertaining to elder law, links to other useful websites, and statutes, regulations, and bulletins of interest to elder law practitioners.  The Law Student Committee provided a “Link of the Week” and a law student member co-authored a lead article in the e-Newsletter. 

Legislation and Amicus Briefs
The Elder Law Section did not submit any legislative proposals or amicus briefs in the 2010-11 term.

Election Results
At the June 17, 2011, Annual Meeting, a new slate of officers and Governing Council members was elected for the 2010-11 year, as follows: 

Officers
Chair:                          Suzanne Scheller
Vice Chair:                 Laura Zdychnec
Secretary:                  Joel Button
Treasurer:                  John Kantke

Governing Council Members - 2-Year Terms ending June 2013                   
Vicki Ahl                                             Kenneth LaBore
Mark Anderson                                  Terrie Lewis
Stuart Bear                                        Vicki McIntyre
Kathleen Eveslage                            Sally Mortenson
Margaret Grathwol                            Kristine Mullman
Richard Hawke                                  David Rephan
Paulette Joyer

Student Members - 1-Yr Terms Ending June 2011
Courtney Allensworth            William Mitchell
Brenna Galvin                        William Mitchell
Analee Heath Leach             Hamline
Megan Stowers                     St. Thomas

The 2011-12 Governing Council will also include members elected in 2010 for two-year terms expiring in June 2012:

Marjorie Austin                                  Sarah Rowley
Joel Button                                         Suzanne Sandahl
John Kantke                                       Lorie Skibbie
Jennifer Lammers                             Dan Steinheigen
Laura Orr                                            Jennifer Wright
Cathryn Reher                                   Julian Zweber

Following the election of officers, the following members were appointed by Chair Suzy Scheller to serve as MSBA Representatives for 2011-12:

MSBA Assembly Representative
Lori Skibbie  (Alternate: Laura Zdychnec)

MSBA Legislative Committee Representative
Julian Zweber

The section remained extremely active throughout 2010-11 and continues to seek new ways to provide tangible benefits to section members and to the public.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer L. Wright
2010-11 MSBA Elder Law Section Governing Council

 

2009-10 Annual Report

As of June 30, 2010, the Elder Law Section had 494 members, virtually the same as at the end of fiscal 2008-09.  Thirteen standing committees were actively involved in providing services to section membership during the year.  The Governing Council, consisting of 29 elected voting members, 4 student members, and 3 ex-officio members, met 6 times during 2009-10.  Additionally, the section held an Annual Meeting at RiverCentre on June 8, 2010.  The section ended fiscal 2009-10 with approximately $15,000 in its treasury.

Elder Law Institute

A major accomplishment for the 2009-10 year was presentation of the annual Elder Law Institute (ELI) - a collaboration between the MSBA’s Elder Law Section and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education - which was held on October 8 & 9, 2009.  The ELI is an annual conference designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for attorneys and others interested in the practice of Elder Law.  The ELI offers a wide range of educational programming, ranging from discussions of nursing home and Medical Assistance issues to legislative updates and policy analysis.  ELI Attendees receive from nine to eleven Continuing Legal Education credits, depending upon the length of the conference.

The 2009 ELI was entitled “It’s STILL the Economy!  Guiding Older Clients through Trying Times.”  Special guest speaker, New York Times columnist Jane Brody, headlined the conference, delivering an entertaining and enlightening presentation entitled “Jane Brody’s Guide to Preparing for the End of Life.”  As a special bonus, attendees received a copy of Ms. Brody’s most recent book, Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond, which Publishers Weekly called “an instructive, inspiring, and reassuring work full of compassion and humor.” 
The 2009 ELI also included programs on long-term care, ethical issues, revisions to the Vulnerable Adult Act, and trusts and public assistance, among others.  A new feature of the conference was inclusion of twelve breakout sessions, covering topics such as “Caring for the Caregiver,” “Special Needs Settlement Planning,” and “VA Benefits as an Alternative Payment Source.”  As part of the breakout format, another new feature was a “Basics Track,” with programs on Medical Assistance, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives.  A complete listing of programs and speakers at the 2009 ELI is available by clicking here.


Awards and Recognition

During the Elder Law Institute, a number of awards were presented to recognize special achievements in Elder Law.

  • The Mary Alice Gooderl Award, which is presented annually to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the field of Elder Law, was presented to Lori L. Guzman, of the Guzman Law Firm, P.A.
  • A Special Recognition Award was presented to the family of Robert G. Gunderson in recognition of Robert’s lifetime of service to his community and his clients, to persons with disabilities, to the members of the Elder Law Section, and to the field of Elder Law. 
  • The children of Francis E. Barg  - Michael F. Barg, Barbara A. Anderson, and Steven E. Barg  - were presented with a  Special Appreciation Award for challenging Minn. Stat. 256B.15 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (Estate of Francis E. Barg, 752 N.W.2d 52 (Minn. 2008)).
  • And a surprise “The Rule of Law Prevails” award was presented to Julian Zweber and Randy Boggio by the estate of Francis E. Barg in appreciation of Julian and Randy’s work in the landmark decision in Estate of Francis E. Barg, 752 N.W.2d 52 (Minn. 2009), Cert. denied.

CLE in a Box

In conjunction with the MSBA’s new “Nine Days in June” conference format, the section created a new CLE entitled “Medical Assistance Eligibility:  Fundamentals of Minnesota Health Care Programs for Seniors,” which was presented for CLE credit during June’s state conference.  Written materials and a PowerPoint presentation are available to any section members who wish to present the program in their locality.  Materials are available at:  PowerPoint Presentation
Written Materials


Medical Assistance Forums

The section continued to provide a bi-monthly forum on Medical Assistance issues, open to all who wish to attend.  Although no CLE credit is given for the forums, the discussions and information on cutting-edge issues relating to Medical Assistance in Minnesota have provided a valuable benefit to practitioners.

Pro Bono/Volunteer Service Activities

During 2009-10, the section participated in the following pro bono/volunteer service activities:

  • National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) - For the 3rd year, the section served as a state liaison for NHDD, a nationwide program committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.  On April 16th of each year, hundreds of NHDD events are held around the country.  In Minnesota, NHDD attendees have the opportunity to learn more about and complete a Minnesota Health Care Directive.  More information about NHDD is available on the state website at:  www.mnhealthcaredecisions.info.
  • ProJustice Minnesota Website -  The section provided new content for the Elder Law area of the Civic Law Practice Area Library on the ProJustice Minnesota website.  The materials are available as a resource for attorneys wishing to engage in pro bono activities involving Elder Law.
  • Presentation on Pro Bono Opportunities in Elder Law - At the 2009 Elder Law Institute, the section’s Law Student Committee created and presented a session on pro bono opportunities available in the Twin Cities area for attorneys wishing to volunteer their time.  The students also published a handbook with information about local organizations seeking volunteer participation.
  • Spring Service Project - The Law Student Committee also created and oversaw the section’s first Spring Service Project on May 1, 2010, gathering volunteers to assist elders with spring yard work in conjunction with Handyworks, a nonprofit organization that helps older and permanently physically disabled adults to continue living independently at home. 
  • Elder Care Guide - The section provided financial support for the new Elder Care Guide, a publication providing attorneys and the public with information about navigating the complexities of placement in nursing home or assisted living facilities.
  • Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults Brochure - The section revised and made available to the public a brochure detailing the law and remedies regarding physical, mental, or financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
  • Community Speaking Offerings Relating to Vulnerable Adults - The section formed a new Vulnerable Adult/Abuse Committee, which created a brochure publicizing the availability of attorneys to speak to groups about issues relating to vulnerable adults.
  • Minnesota Medicaid State Plan - The section also worked with the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services to acquire and post a copy of the Minnesota Medicaid State Plan, the document which contains the rules governing Medical Assistance in Minnesota.  Because the state Department of Human Resources does not currently provide an electronic version of the Medicaid State Plan, the section acquired a hard copy of the 1600-page document and converted the entire document to pdf format for electronic posting.  The State Plan is now available online at Practicelaw.org.  Click here for more information. 

Website

The section continued to maintain a website, which was updated and revised during 2009-10.  The website is available at:  http://www2.mnbar.org/sections/elder-law/index.asp

Newsletter

The section also continued to publish a weekly e-Newsletter, which is distributed via email to all section members each Tuesday and which is posted online on the Elder Law Section’s webpage. The e-Newsletter provides information on section activities, upcoming educational opportunities and CLEs, news items about elder law issues, published and unpublished cases pertaining to elder law, links to other useful websites, and statutes, regulations, and bulletins of interest to elder law practitioners.   Click here to view past editions of the e-Newsletter. 

Election Results

At the June 8, 2010, Annual Meeting, a new slate of officers and Governing Council members was elected for the 2010-11 year, as follows: 

Officers

Chair:              Jennifer Wright
Vice Chair:       Suzanne Scheller
Secretary:         Laura Zdychnec
Treasurer:         Janet Totter

Governing Council Members -2-Year Terms ending June 2012                   

Marjorie Austin
Joel Button
Lori Guzman
John Kantke 
Jennifer Lammers
Cathryn Reher
Sarah Rowley
Suzanne Sandahl
Lori Skibbie
Joel Smith
Dan Steinhagen
Jennifer Wright
Laura Zdychnec
Julian Zweber

Student Members - 1-Yr Terms Ending June 2011

Adam Heuett, University of St. Thomas
Ruthanne Vos, William Mitchell College of Law
Adam Rohne, University of St. Thomas
Sarah Leonard,William Mitchell of Law

The 2010-11 Governing Council will also include members elected in 2009 for 2-year terms expiring in June 2011:

Vicki Ahl
Ken LaBore
Mark Anderson                                
Paulette Joyer
Stuart Bear                                                      
Vicki McIntyre
Kathy Eveslage                                    
Sally Mortenson
Pook Grathwol                                    
Kristine Mullman
Dick Hawke                                                    
Bob Russell
Peter Hendricks                                               
Suzy Scheller
Janet Totter

Following the election of officers, the following members were appointed by Chair Jennifer Wright to serve as MSBA Representatives for 2010-11:

MSBA Assembly Representative
Lori Skibbie  (Alternate: Jennifer Wright)

MSBA Legislative Committee Representatives
Julian Zweber and Lori Guzman

The section remained extremely active throughout 2009-10 and continues to seek new ways to provide tangible benefits to section members and to the public.

Respectfully submitted,

Vicki M. McIntyre
2009-10 MSBA Elder Law Section Governing Council Chair

Click here to view the report in PDF format.

 

 

MSBA ELDER LAW SECTION
2005-2006 Annual Report

The Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association continued to meet throughout the 2005-2006 program year to discuss elder law issues.  The section is dedicated to meeting it’s mission statement goal to best serve it’s members by enhancing the skills of elder law attorneys and serving as a liaison with the Minnesota State Bar Association and the public on issues and activities related to elder law.   Highlights of the year included the following:

1.)  The section produced two newsletters and a third is almost ready for distribution.  The newsletters contain helpful information for elder law practitioners including:
legislative reports that detail the latest changes in the law;
helpful articles on topics of interest, including, life estate lien litigation; supplemental needs trusts; and Medicare Part D;
Current “Minnesota Health Care Programs Income and Asset Figures” charts; and
web-based resource lists.

2.)  The section, through Minnesota CLE, again sponsored the annual Elder Law Institute in October of 2005.  There were 256 attendees at the 2 day CLE and many more attorneys will be able to see video replays of the event.

3.)  We are working very hard to make our website a valuable tool for elder law practitioners.  We are posting a wide variety of information and resources on our site.

4.)  The section updated our by-laws and created systems to allow the section to function smoothly.

5.)  We hired a second law clerk to assist with research and to follow legislative changes relevant to the area of elder law.

6.)  We presented the Mary Alice Gooderl award for outstanding contributions to the field of elder law to Catherine Reher.  We also presented special awards to Randall Brown and Marcus Stubbles for their dedicated pro-bono work in the Marten case and recognized the section’s first law clerk, Erin Furlong  for her extraordinary service.

7.)  Many members participated in a variety of committees and contributed countless hours to the section.  The committees include: Nominating; Newsletter; Strategic Planning; Medical Assistance; Legislative; By-laws; and Awards.  We also have a wonderful website manager and coordinate with a Public Education committee associated with the Ramsey County Bar Association.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen M. Eveslage
Chair, Elder Law Section Governing Council
2005-2006

 


MSBA Elder Law Section
2002-03 Annual Report

The Elder Law Section recently completed a very busy, but productive year. Highlights of the year included the following:

1. The section produced two newsletters for its members.

2. The Elder Law Section through, Minnesota CLE, sponsored its annual institute in October, 2002.

3. The section addressed and appropriately responded to a number of legislative initiatives introduced during the recent Minnesota legislative session. Julian Zweber chaired our legislation committee.

4. A group of lawyers from the Elder Law Section responded to a waiver request submitted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, opposing the request for waiver.

5. A strategic planning committee was formed, to evaluate section activities and use of funds. Monica Lewis chaired the strategic planning committee.

6. The section solicited professors and academicians to serve on the governing law council. As a result, two professors/academicians will serve on the governing law council in the year 2003-2004.

7. The section actively recruited law students interested in the field of Elder Law to serve on the Elder Law Governing Council. As a result, a law student from the University of Minnesota sat as a student representative of the governing law council.

8. A number of lawyers from the section dedicated their time and efforts to the Habitat for Humanity construction project sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

9. The Elder Law Section sponsored a CLE on estate recovery issues at the Minnesota State Bar Association Annual Convention. Randy Boggio was the presenter at the CLE.


Respectfully submitted,

Stuart C. Bear
Chair, Elder Law Section Governing Council

 

 


MSBA Elder Law Forum, Elder Law Section
1999-2000 Annual Report

The Elder Law Forum of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association continued to meet on a monthly basis throughout the 1999-2000 program year to discuss substantive elder law issues and to review practical ideas for the management of an elder law practice. The forum continues to be an arena for cutting edge elder law issues that are not related to Medical Assistance and acts as a resource for members to seek assistance with cases that arise in their own practices.

A sampling of the topics discussed during the past year include:

  • Meg Rogers, who is with LifeSource (this region's agency for the procurement and distribution of organs and tissue donations) provided a detailed explanation of the donation and procurement system in the Upper Midwest.
  • In August, Lisa Bowen led a session about qualified plan distributions.
  • Reid Rischmiller, a personal injury attorney in Minneapolis, provided an overview of litigation issues for the elderly, in particular, nursing home litigation, for the September meeting.
  • In February, Carmen Madden, who is with Hennepin County Adult Protective Services gave a presentation about how her department monitors, manages and prosecutes vulnerable adult claims.
  • Our March meeting focused primarily on office management issues and was followed by an April meeting in which Sharon Kirts presented a great deal of information about the technology she has used to make her practice more efficient.
  • The forum also discussed issues concerning the unauthorized practice of law by some financial planners, the Department of Health guidelines for the use of restraints in nursing facilities, the new SSI, Trust and transfer rules, and the use of special conservatorships and protective arrangements.

The format for our meetings continues to encourage open discussion and most meetings are memorialized with minutes that are sent to all members of the forum for review and reference. In the coming months it is anticipated that the forum will discuss such topics as Medicare Hospice and home care programs, an overview of the Medical Assistance Wavered Programs for individuals who are under age 65, continued discussions about office management and practice development, client competence and disability, a review of the SSI program and other cutting edge issues as they arise.

For more information about the Elder Law Forum, please contact Jeffrey W. Schmidt at (651) 291-2405 or jschmidt@schmitzandschmidt.com.


MSBA Elder Law Section
1998-99 Annual Report

The Elder Law section of the MSBA continues to flourish and grow. Membership increased again this year and the section is in excellent financial shape. The section and its leaders are also doing a good job of helping members to improve the practice of elder law. Highlights for the 1998-1999 program year include the section's attempts to influence public policy at the Legislature and the Court of Appeals, a program to increase pro bono awareness for elder law attorneys, and more opportunities for networking and education.

Public Education Committee. The Public Education Committee took up the cause of pro bono awareness and began developing a program to connect Elder Law section members with legal aid attorneys and clients in need. The committee, under the leadership of Betty Berger and Barbara Goldstein, met with leaders from legal aid organizations for the metro area who receive funding under the Older Americans Act. They identified a need for attorneys knowledgeable about Medical Assistance who are willing to take calls from senior law project attorneys and from seniors referred to them. Several attorneys from the Public Education committee have volunteered and more section members are encouraged to donate their time. Contact Barbara Goldstein (612/512-1696) for more information.

The Public Education Committee continues to develop and distribute educational outlines and reach out to the community with CLE programs and public education opportunities. Outlines for Long Term Care and Planning for Disability are done, with a Basic Estate Planning outline slated for completion soon. The Public Education committee meets with the Ramsey County Bar Association Senior Issues committee and cosponsored and organized a Ramsey County Bar Association continuing legal education seminar about Health Care Directives and Medical Assistance.

Jobe Amicus Brief. On May 7, 1999, the Elder Law section filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court a Request for Leave to Participate as Amicus Curiae in the Estate of Alice I. Jobe, 590 N.W. 2d 162 (Minn.Ct.App. 1999). This action was taken upon the unanimous vote of the Executive Committee and was ratified by the Governing Council at its May 12, 1999 meeting. (This Request for Leave to Participate as Amicus Curiae was made by the Elder Law section of the MSBA and does not represent the view or action of the entire MSBA.)

In Jobe, the Ottertail County Department of Social Services filed a claim in the estate of Alice I. Jobe for reimbursement of Medical Assistance benefits paid on behalf of Mrs. Jobe's predeceased husband. Alice I. Jobe never received Medical Assistance benefits herself. The District Court allowed the claim and an appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals, challenging the validity of state law that allows such a claim against the estate of a surviving spouse. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the federal statutes that control these issues did not preempt state law.

While the Petition of the Estate of Alice I. Jobe to review this matter was denied by the Minnesota Supreme Court in a May 26, 1999 Order, the issues raised by this case are arising in other matters around the state. An opportunity may present itself, as a result, for the Elder Law Section to address its concerns about the broad impact of the Jobe decision on Medical Assistance, probate, trust, spousal rights, and real estate law.

Webmaster's Report. The Elder Law section Web Page has become a fully developed resource for section members and the public, including links with several excellent sources for the practice of Elder Law. The page now contains section newsletters, the completed and approved educational outlines developed by the Public Education Committee, and easy access to state and federal Medicaid regulations. The webmaster, Barbara Goldstein, is searching for other helpful sites to link with the Web Page.

In addition, the section seized an opportunity presented by the MSBA to develop an Internet listserve in conjunction with the Probate & Trust Law Section. The listserve is now on line and is developing into a quick and easy way to solicit the advice and assistance of peers. There are 131 members who use the listserve to ask questions about issues in their daily practices. Other members answer those questions and provide case citations, statutes, and other information on point. With these resources in place the Elder Law section is in a great position to keep section members and the public up-to-date about Elder Law. Contact Barbara Goldstein (612/512-1696) for more information.

Medical Assistance Committee. The Medical Assistance Committee, chaired by Frances L. Long, meets every other month to discuss matters that arise in Medical Assistance planning and related areas. During the past year, meetings included extensive discussions about the estate recovery claims by counties and related developing case law, meeting with Minnesota Department of Human Services representatives to develop methods for more consistent application of the complex Medical Assistance laws by county and state employees, and other matters as they arose in the members' practices. Approximately 15 to 25 people attend the meetings and the discussion is lively. The committee will continue to meet on the third Tuesday of every other month. The next meeting is scheduled for August 17, 1999 at 3:30 p.m. at 6600 France Avenue South, Edina, Minnesota. Contact Frances Long (612/929-0622) for more information.

Elder Law Institute. In October, the annual Elder Law Institute drew 310 participants and received excellent reviews. The section awarded the Mary Alice Gooderl Award to Barbara Bloomer for her work developing and implementing the new Health Care Directive. Planning is under way for next year's Institute. It will be held at the River Centre in St. Paul on Friday, October 22, 1999. Some of the topics to be covered include the use of restraints in nursing homes in light of new legislation and regulations, estate recovery issues and Medical Assistance, the Department of Human Services Project 2030, legislative, administrative and case law updates, and basic reviews of Medical Assistance, Veterans benefits and SSI.

Legislative Committee. The Legislative Committee, under the strong leadership of Julian J. Zweber, monitored bills through this year's legislative session covering everything from the use of restraints in nursing homes to changes in Medical Assistance to the Uniform Guardianship and Conservatorship Act. Of particular interest was the passage of a new statute giving nursing home residents and their families the option to select the use of physical restraints if such restraints are ordered by a physician. This addition to the Patient Bill of Rights expands the ability of nursing home residents to control their own health care and living situation. Restraints, such bed side rails, that would otherwise not be used, can be incorporated into a patient's plan of care so long as less restrictive alternatives are explored and a physician orders the restraints to treat a medical condition. Among the medical conditions that will justify the use of restraints is the patient's well-founded fear of, for example, falling out of bed. This new statute and the Department of Health guidelines that have been produced in response will give nursing home residents more control over their care and Elder Law attorneys more leverage to ensure that clients have the highest quality of life possible.

Elder Law Newsletter. Stuart C. Bear, in his first year as the newsletter coordinator, produced three excellent issues of the Elder Law Section Newsletter. The November issue had four pages containing articles about the listserve developed for the Elder Law and Probate & Trust Law sections. An update of estate recovery claims involving a surviving spouse and announcements about the Elder Law Forum and the Public Education Committee were also included. In March, the bulk of the newsletter outlined the Minnesota Department of Human Services 2030 project. This project deals with the impact of the baby boom generation. The article provided insightful information regarding the demographic shift of our population and the considerations inherent, from a legal, social and economic standpoint, with an aging population. The June issue, the largest of the year, contained notice of the annual meeting with a slate of officers and council members, as well as a report from the chair, a summary of legislative activity, and a statement about the section's involvement in the Jobe case. Section members were also encouraged to make nominations for the Alice Gooderl Award and to sign up for a Law and Literature program to be sponsored by the Elder Law section and the Minnesota Humanities Commission in September.

Law & Literature Program. On September 17, 1999, the Elder Law section will cosponsor a "Law & Literature" session for its members in conjunction with the Minnesota Humanities Commission. Continuing Legal Education has approved Law & Literature as an "Ethics CLE" course. As a result, section members will be able to acquire CLE credit by participating in the program.

Participants prepare for the Law & Literature seminar by reading two short stories that relate to Elder Law and ethical issues. Through these stories, the program seeks to provide participants with a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and to enhance their capacity for ethically informed advocacy, judgment, and behavior. General practice issues, client and peer relations, and even substantive legal questions become part of the discussion as well. Contact Jeffrey W. Schmidt (651/291-2405) for more information.

Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association Elder Law Committee. The Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, in response to the growing scope of Elder Law, has established a committee dedicated to litigation issues for the elderly. In an effort to expand the reach and effectiveness of this new committee and the Elder Law section, Elder Law section members are being invited to serve on the MTLA Elder Law Committee. The goal is to increase awareness by incorporating the experience and knowledge of the Elder Law Bar with the knowledge and experience of Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association members. Contact Jeffrey W. Schmidt (651/291-2405) for more information.

Elder Law Forum. The Elder Law Forum, a committee dedicated to Elder Law issues outside the realm of Medical Assistance, now meets on the last Thursday of each month (except for November and December). A sampling of the topics covered and to be covered include, Health Care Directives, DNR/DNI orders, organ donation, vulnerable adults, a variety of ethical questions, Social Security, nursing home litigation, qualified retirement plan distributions, and much more. Contact Jeffrey W. Schmidt (651/291-2405) for more information.

Thank you to all of the hard working section members who make the success of this section possible. Keep up the good work.

Jeffrey W. Schmidt,
1998-99 Chair

 


MSBA Elder Law Section
1997-98 Annual Report

This was a busy year for the Elder Law Section. We established a new committee, Open Forum, to provide a meeting where practitioners could discuss their interests and concerns; we opened our first web page; we held an Elder Law Institute with participation which exceeded that of prior years; we participated in the creation and passage of the legislation on Health Care Directives; and we continued to work on the creation of a brief bank.

Legislative Committee: The Legislative Committee, together with the Probate and Trust Law Section and the Health Law Section, created a task force which reviewed existing statutes governing living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care. The task force, which also included representatives of groups with an interest in health care directives, created a bill that was passed by the Legislature and signed into law on April 21, 1998. It takes effect August 1, 1998.

The new law will simplify requirements for a valid health care directive; provide more certainty as to enforceability of directives executed in other states; allow an agent to make health care decisions regarding place of abode and personal security; and allow a person to leave instructions, appoint an agent, or both.

The committee has already begun work on the 1999 session and will be following the development of the revision of pre-marital and post-marital contracts, regulation of professional guardians and conservators, and revisions to the exempt property statute in the Probate Code. Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact Julian J. Zweber at (651) 646-4354.

Medical Assistance Committee: The Medical Assistance Committee met every other month to discuss matters arising in Medical Assistance planning and related areas. During the past year, discussions included the federal criminalization statute and how members were dealing with it in their practices as well as the statement of the Attorney General regarding it, state recovery issues and challenges to wills or trusts by county attorneys in various counties, long-term care insurance and when or whether to recommend it to clients, trust issues, and other matters as they arose in the members' practices. Approximately 15 to 25 people attend the meetings and the discussion is lively. The Medical Assistance Committee will continue to meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. at 6600 France Ave. South, Suite 425, Edina, MN. The next meeting will be on August 18, 1998.

Open Forum Committee: The Governing Council of the Elder Law Section established the Elder Law Forum in the fall of 1997 to provide a forum for the discussion of substantive elder law issues beyond Medical Assistance. The forum met on February 26, 1998 and April 30, 1998. Approximately 12 section members attended each meeting.

The Elder Law Forum will begin meeting again in September, and every other month following. Section members have been encouraged to submit ideas, topics and issues for discussion to the forum chair, Jeffrey W. Schmidt, at (651) 291-2405.

Newsletter Committee: The Newsletter Committee produced two newsletters for the 1997-98 year. As usual, these newsletters consisted of articles and information supplied by various members of the Governing Council, including information about: the "Granny's Advisor Goes to Jail" lawsuit; the new Elder Law Certification authorization; survey results re Elder Law certification, as well as information about the annual Elder Law Institute.

This year, the Governing Council agreed that in addition to a print publication of the section's newsletter, the council would try to place the newsletter on the MSBA's web page.

From time to time, the council intends on reviewing the idea of having the newsletter or other of its reports online. Accordingly, input from any member on this issue is certainly welcome.

Public Education Committee: This committee, which meets with the Senior Issues Committee of the Ramsey County Bar Association, continued its project of preparing outlines to be used throughout the state for elder law education. The areas being prepared are: Planning for Disability, Long Term Care, Estate Planning, and now a revision of the outline on Advance Directives to move to the new Health Care Directives legislation. The committee also sponsored a CLE on Retirement Taxation and participated in the Law Day events answering legal questions on elder law at Channel 11. If you are interested in joining this committee, contact Barbara Goldstein at (612) 512-1696.

Elder Law Institute: Three hundred twenty-five people, the largest number yet, attended the annual institute which was held on October 24, 1997 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in St. Louis Park. Cochaired by Barbara Goldstein and Jody Cohen Press, the topics included cutting edge issues in elder law. The Mary Alice Gooderl Award was awarded posthumously to Charles Ingram for his contributions to elder law. His family and members of his law firm attended the award ceremony. A survey was taken of members regarding the definition of elder law and which of the areas of elder law our members practice. The material was analyzed and will be discussed at the 1998 institute set for Friday, October 23, 1998, again at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel.

Ad Hoc Specialization Committee: When the Minnesota Board of Legal Certification gave the authority to certify Elder Law attorneys to the National Elder Law Foundation, the Governing Council established an ad hoc committee on specialization to look at the board's decision and recommend what action should be taken by the Governing Council. The committee recommended that a member of the Governing Council be appointed to monitor the development of elder law specialization and keep the Governing Council informed of the developments. The ad hoc committee was then dissolved.

Annual Meeting: The annual meeting of the Elder Law Section was held on June 26, 1998 together with the Probate and Trust Law Section in Duluth at the MSBA annual convention. As in past years, refreshments were provided by Norwest Bank. Following both business meetings, a CLE was held on the new Health Care Directives Statute.

Chairing the Governing Council this year was a great experience. Thanks to everyone who participated.

--Barbara F. Goldstein,
1997-98 Chair



MSBA Elder Law Section
1996-97 Annual Report

Certification of Attorneys as Specialists in Elder Law
During this past year, the National Elder Law Foundation, located in Tucson, Arizona, filed an application with the Minnesota Board of Legal Certification, seeking authority from the board to certify Minnesota attorneys as specialists in elder law. The Elder Law Governing Council was notified by the board of NELF's application and the hearing to be held on the application.

Representatives from the council (as well as a representative from the Probate and Trust Law Section) met with the board and provided comments and feedback with respect to NELF's application. The board was informed of the council's concerns with respect to the substance of NELF's application as well as the council's comments concerning the general concept of having attorneys certified as specialists in elder law. A lengthier report on the status of the issue was published in the May 1997 Elder Law Newsletter.

As of this date, the board is still reviewing NELF's application and the council intends on continuing to stay involved with the process.

Legislation
The Legislative Committee assisted in sponsoring Minnesota legislation to allow designation of all forms of advanced health care directives, not just living wills, on a person's driver's license or Minnesota identification card. This law became effective for driver's licenses and identification cards requested or renewed on or after July 1, 1997.

Additionally, the Elder Law Section, Probate and Trust Law Section, and the Health Law Section met to sponsor a working conference on Minnesota healthcare decision-making issues. The conference included a summary of existing Minnesota laws and healthcare decision making; identification of healthcare decision-making issues under current Minnesota laws; an introduction to the uniform act; and identification of working group issues, activities and time lines for development of legislation for introduction in future years, hopefully, in the 1998 session of the Legislature.

Elder Law Institute
The Annual Elder Law Institute (for 1996) was held October 18, 1996. The Institute, chaired by Jeffrey Schmidt, was a big success, and included topics relating to healthcare policy, future access to healthcare, community-based service ideas, issues and concerns, and the ever-popular tax issues. Over 250 attorneys attended (60 more than the previous year). The participants rated the program 6.1 out of a possible 7 which, according to Carol Berg, the CLE program attorney in charge, is an excellent rating.

The 1997 Annual Elder Law Institute, to be chaired by Jody Cohen Press, will be held Friday, October 24, 1997.

Newsletter Committee
Three newsletters were published this year, including one newsletter that cited the federal criminalization statute (effective 1/1/97) making it a Federal misdemeanor if any person "knowingly and willfully disposes of assets (including by any transfer in Trust) in order for an individual to become eligible for medical assistance under a State Plan under Title XIX, if disposing of the assets results in the imposition of a period of ineligibility for such assistance under ß 1917(c)."

This federal law, including what it says or what it could be interpreted to say, received due attention by the members of the Elder Law Governing Council and provided much discussion among general members of the section, including anecdotal information that the law will be amended in the future. We shall have to wait and see.

Medical Assistance Committee
The Medical Assistance Committee, chaired by Frances Long, again provided a forum for discussing many issues that come before attorneys that directly or indirectly relate to medical assistance. The meetings have been very helpful to all attorneys who attend them and provide a place where ideas and information can be shared among those who attend.

Public Education Committee
The Public Education Committee completed an outline on healthcare declarations. The outline will be distributed to members of the bar for their use in presenting the substance of the outline to the public. The committee also issued a brochure in conjunction with the MSBA on the Vulnerable Adults Act, for use by members of the bar and the public. Additionally, the committee hosted two CLE presentations on Long Term Care Insurance.

Brief Bank Committee
A new committee was formed this year, the "Brief Bank Committee." Its purpose is to investigate the idea of using technology to circulate memos, briefs, unreported court decisions, or other information that would be helpful to Elder Law Section members. After some investigation, the committee issued a report to the Governing Council about its preliminary findings, which included the raising of questions as to what costs would be needed, who would be in charge, and how the procedures would be accomplished. While no definitive answers have yet been found, there seems to be a general consensus that the idea of formulating a "Brief Bank" would be welcomed by members of the section.

Living Trust Committee
The Living Trust Committee, chaired by Lloyd Stern, also met a number of times during the year and provided a forum for attendees to discuss issues relating to trusts and beyond. Additionally, the long time developing Irrevocable Insurance Trust form was introduced at the 1996 Probate and Trust Law Annual Institute held in May of 1996. This is the document that had been worked on for some time in the Living Trust Committee and had received much refinement through the help of many members of the committee.

Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Elder Law Section was held June 20, 1997, in conjunction with the Probate & Trust Law annual meeting. In the past few years, the Probate & Trust Law and Elder Law Sections have held their meetings one after the other so that attendees can share in a joint breakfast (sponsored again this year by Norwest Investments) , and stay for a short CLE seminar (this year's seminar was "Splitting the Grandfather Clock--ADR in the Trusts and Estate Practice").

The joint annual meeting was enjoyed by all, and I expect that this wonderful tradition will continue in years to come.

Michael J. Burke,
Chairperson

 

- Last Updated 06/21/2013 -

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