RLG Attorney Kim Christian Will Be Featured On The Boomer Buzz Radio Show!

Learn How Elder Law and Estate Planning

can Protect You and Your Family.

What legal documents do all seniors need? What can happen if you don’t have an estate plan? Should you give all of your assets away before you pass away? How do you prevent family squabbles over estate assets? Should you use online document mills like Legal Zoom? What does it cost to meet with an attorney?
Elder law and estate planning attorney Kim Christian will discuss all of these topics and many more on the Boomer Buzz Radio Show.
The Boomer Buzz Radio Show focuses on health, financial, and lifestyle issues of interest to the 60-plus crowd and their families. The show airs here on Long Island and around the country. It is hosted by Dr. Lamarr Stanford and Corporate Wellness Consultant Patricia Stanford.

The episode featuring attorney Kim Christian will air

this Friday at 3:30pm

0n WHPC 90.3 FM

If that’s inconvenient, you can hear her later by visiting https://www.spreaker.com/show/boomer-buzz at any time.

You don’t want to miss this informative discussion!

About Kim N. Christian
Kim Christian is a Partner at Russo Law Group, P.C. Her areas of practice include Elder Law, Estate and Trust Planning, Real Estate, and Special Needs planning. Kim has presented seminars on Elder Law and Estate Planning, as well as Special Needs planning, throughout Nassau County and Queens County. She is a sought-after speaker on these topics.
Kim earned her law degree at St. John’s University School of Law and served as Research Editor of the New York Litigator. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association as well as the Nassau County Bar Association. Kim is licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey, and has been admitted to the United States Supreme Court. She is also a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP). She was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star for the state of New York in 2014.

If your child has special needs, there are so many things to think about. Between getting the child help right now and thinking about what happens when they turn 18 and you no longer have the legal authority to make medical and financial decisions; here are two options:

  • Advance Directives – Advance directives, if the young adult has capacity, can be tailored to meet the individual’s specific circumstances and be an excellent way to keep trusted relatives involved while ensuring that young adults direct their futures. Unlike guardianship, advance directives do not involve the surrendering of any rights, and they can be changed over time. 
  • Guardianship – Guardianship is a legal proceeding where someone, usually a family member, asks the court to find that a person is unable to manage his or her affairs effectively because of a disability. A guardian is then appointed to make the decisions for the person with special needs.

In addition, it is also advised that you write a memorandum of intent. A memorandum of intent is used to memorialize your knowledge of your child’s needs so that you may guide future caregivers, guardians, and trustees in providing the best possible care to your child. Simply put, a thoughtful letter of intent ensures that those who come after you need not waste precious time figuring out the best way to manage and care for your child.

After that, the next step is planning for their financial future.

Planning for their future:

This includes deciphering what government benefits your child qualifies for and how to protect their assets. There are numerous trusts available to help plan for your child with special needs financial future including special needs trusts and pooled trusts.

Let’s take a look at one of our recent clients.

This family consisted of a single mother, two daughters (one of which is special needs) and a son. The mother was in relatively good health with no specific medical conditions with assets totaling $525,000. The estate is currently being split with 2/3 going to the well daughter and 1/3 going to the son. The well daughter is getting her sister’s share in an effort to protect and manage the share for her sister.

The client’s objective is to make sure that all of her children, including the child with special needs, inherit equally upon her demise. In doing so, she has a few options.

  1. Create a third-party Supplemental Needs Trust. By creating a Third-Party Supplemental Needs trust for the benefit of her special needs child, the client is going to allow for others to also contribute to the trust and will make sure that the child will maintain any government benefits that they are receiving. This trust will also guarantee that assets are set aside for the child and they will not become subject to any marital financial issues of the sister who was originally holding the funds.
  2. Create an Irrevocable or Revocable Trust for herself. Which one will depend on the mother’s planning objectives. In that trust, there should be language that creates a supplemental needs trust for the special needs child within the mom’s trust. When the mother passes, the assets will pass to the trust within her trust for that child.
  3. Update her will to include a supplemental needs trust within the will for the benefit of the child. Upon the mother’s passing the assets will pass to the trust within the mom’s will for that child.

As you can see, this mother has a few options she can make based on her preference to ensure her child with special needs is well taken care of after she is gone. By working with a professional and looking at the options, you have the power to set up your child with special needs for financial preparedness in the future.

Russo Law Group, P.C. is a proud sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc.(ADRC) 17th Annual West End Walk For Alzheimer’s!

Saturday, September 7th, our staff and friends among other supporters of ADRC will join the walk for Alzheimer’s Disease.

The event will take place at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, NY.

The proceeds from this Walk will provide valuable resources needed to support local research projects, as well as programs and services provided to local families through the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, home of the Mickey & Felice Neuwirth Care Center.

Today, there are over 5.4 million people with Alzheimer’s disease and today, we have no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. It is estimated that by the year 2050 we could have somewhere between 14 and 16 million individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease; one in eight Baby Boomers is at risk for getting this devastating disease. Approximately 200,000 individuals in this country who are under the age of 65 have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you cannot join – please consider making a donation online by clicking, here.

For more information, please contact Maria, ADRC at (631) 580-5100 X313 or at [email protected]

We look forward to having you join us!

Have you ever been concerned about an aging parent who seems to be making “bad” decisions? Or, have you thought about who will look after you should something tragic happen and you become incapacitated? These are difficult scenarios to think about, but Power of Attorney and Guardianship proceedings can offer peace of mind.

In a society that deeply values the notion of independence and personal autonomy, there are many legal issues related to independence and personal autonomy that arise when a person loses capacity. Depending on whether the appropriate legal planning is already in place, the loss of capacity may result in the need for a court-appointed guardian.

What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Guardianship?

A power of attorney and guardianship are both tools that can help someone act on your behalf should you or your loved one become incapacitated. With a power of attorney, you have the right to choose who you want to represent you and make decisions for you in the future. Unlike a power of attorney, in a guardianship proceeding, the court chooses who will act as guardian. Guardianship is a legal relationship between the guardian and the person who because of incapacity is no longer able to take care of his or her affairs.

Power of Attorney Case Study

Let’s look at a case study. John* was a widower in his late 70s who had not done any estate planning. After meeting with us, we recommended that as part of his Estate and Long Term Care Plan, he execute advance directives, which included Durable Power of Attorney with a Statutory Gift Rider as well as a Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Authorization, and Living Will.

John named his daughter, Mary*, as an initial agent under their Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy, and his son, Thomas*, as a successor agent under both documents.

Unfortunately three years after executing the advance directives, John suffered a loss of mental and physical capacity as a result of dementia and a stroke. John now requires a home care aid to assist him 24/7 with his activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, toileting, etc.

As a result of the planning done, John’s daughter Mary has the legal authority to manage John’s finances as an agent under John’s Durable Power of Attorney and can make medical decisions on his behalf as an agent under John’s Health Care Proxy. Should Mary not be able to make decisions for John in the future then Thomas can continue to make decisions on his behalf as a successor agent.

Also, Mary, as an agent under John’s Durable Power of Attorney, can do further Medicaid eligibility planning and apply for Medicaid on John’s behalf to help offset the cost of his long term care needs.

John’s children have been incredibly grateful that their father listened to the appropriate counsel and executed advance directives while he had the capacity to do so.

Guardianship Case Study

On the flip side, let’s look at a guardianship case study.

Paul* (68-years-old) and Linda* (67-years-old) were a married couple who had not done any estate planning.

Unfortunately, Linda suffered an aneurysm and no longer had the mental capacity to execute any legal documents, but now needed assistance managing her finances such as banking, and paying for the carrying costs of her home. She also needed assistance in making health care decisions and managing her care needs, including grocery shopping, cooking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, toileting, dressing, etc. She does not understand that she needs and requires 24/7 care in a nursing home.

Paul met with us and we recommended that he commence a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 Guardianship proceeding and request that the court appoints him Guardian and grant him the authority to handle his wife’s personal needs and property management, including but not limited to handling Medicaid planning and applying for Medicaid.

Once Paul was appointed as the Guardian for the Personal Needs and Property Management of his wife and granted the appropriate authorities by the court, he was then able to do further Medicaid planning to ensure that his wife was eligible for Medicaid Nursing Home Care. He then successfully applied for Medicaid Nursing Home Care as his wife’s Guardian, and now his wife receives services in a nursing home paid for by Medicaid.

As you can see, Power of Attorney and Guardianship differ on many levels, but both ultimately provide the care your loved one or you need in the event he or she becomes incapacitated.

*Names have been changed for the privacy of our clients.

Does your parent need home care, but you just don’t know how you’re going to afford it? Many options exist and determining which financial strategy is best for your loved ones can be hard to decipher. However, one option that can provide you with peace of mind is a pooled income trust.

For example, with proper planning, you can get Medicaid home care for your mother and then protect her income with the Pooled Income Trust. One such trust is the Theresa Pooled Income Trust.

What is a Pooled Income Trust?

A pooled income trust is a trust established and administered by a non-profit organization. A separate account is established for each beneficiary of the trust, but for the investment and management of funds, the trust pools these accounts, hence its name. This type of trust protects the income of a person who is disabled, while still allowing that individual to receive government benefits such as Medicaid home care. The income placed in a pooled trust can then be used to pay for supplemental needs not covered by public assistance such as:

  • Living expenses such as food, shelter, and clothing
  • Housing costs like rent, real estate taxes and utilities
  • Supplemental nursing care
  • Private pay care services
  • Medical procedures and care not provided by government assistance
  • Travel expenses and entertainment
  • Guardian and attorney fees

What are the benefits of a Pooled Income Trust? 

Under current Federal Law, any income of the Medicaid home care recipient or from an ordinary trust will be counted against the recipient and this money will have to be spent down before Medicaid will cover the unpaid care provided at home.  As a result, oftentimes seniors with Medicaid home care will not be able to afford to stay at home because all of their income is being spent down on home care services.

With a pooled income trust, the senior can keep a certain amount directly and the excess monthly income can be paid into the trust, which then can be used for house and living expenses instead of for home care services.  A pooled income trust can protect the beneficiary’s income and allow him/her to still receive public benefits. Pooled Trust beneficiaries receive the added value derived from pooling funds for investment and management purposes. After the person passes, any remaining money left in the Pooled Income Trust goes to the Charity which managed the Pooled Income Trust.

Setting up a pooled trust for your loved one can make a big difference in his or her quality of life while requiring home care in the community. You will then have the comfort of knowing your parent or family member is home getting needed home care without forcing them to move into a nursing home. Plus, knowing that your parent or family member is also giving back to a charity, is a win-win situation.

No one likes to think about his or her end of life, but you can’t avoid the inevitable.  Planning financially for you and your family’s future can help put your mind at ease. Having a solid plan in place can ensure your family is well taken care of after you are gone. As such, a living trust can be an invaluable planning tool.

A living trust allows you to decide how your assets, property, vehicles, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, family heirlooms including antiques, jewelry, and collections, are handled.

Revocable Versus Irrevocable Living Trusts

There are two types of living trusts – revocable and irrevocable.

A revocable living trust is just that, it can be revoked at any time. This trust allows you more flexibility and the ability to move assets in an out of the trust whenever you see fit. You have the right to revoke or amend the trust at any time. You receive the income and/or principal of the trust and you also control the trust as the trustee. You must, however, report the trust income on your tax return.

An irrevocable living trust is permanent, including the assets that are placed in the trust. Once this trust is determined, changes cannot be made.

When to Use a Revocable or Irrevocable Living Trust

There are a few common reasons why someone would want to set up a revocable living trust as follows:

  1. They want to avoid delays and the expense of probate.
  2. They own property in more than one state.
  3. They are concerned that a family member will challenge (contest) his/her estate plan.

On the flip side, setting up an irrevocable living trust can make sense if:

  1. They want to protect assets for their family in the event they suffer a catastrophic illness and necessitate long term care.
  2. They want to save on estate taxes.

Do I Need A Living Trust?

There is no specific determining factor deciding if you need a living trust or not. But, if you’re looking for additional protection for your assets and want to ensure your family is provided for appropriately after you’re gone, setting up a living trust can give you great financial peace of mind.

Interested in Learning More About Trusts?

We’re hosting a series of free educational seminars entitled, “Trusts-Do I Need One?” During these seminars, we will be discussing why someone may need a trust and which trust, irrevocable or revocable, would best fit their situation. 

Join us for our upcoming seminars:

  • August 10th from 9:30 am – 11:30 am at Russo Law Group Bay Shore Office (45 Park Ave.)
  • August 13th from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Borrelli’s in East Meadow (1580 Hempstead Tpke)
  • August 14th from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Greene Turtle in Smithtown (716 Smithtown Bypass)
  • August 15th from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at The Cuban in Garden City (987 Stewart Ave)
  • August 17th from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Russo Law Group Lido Beach Office (250 Lido Boulevard)

Registration is required to attend any of these seminars, please register by clicking here or by calling Ashley at 516-393-3164.

Interested in Learning Trusts?

We will be hosting free educational seminars entitled, TrustsDo I Need One? During these seminars, we will be discussing why someone may need a trust and which trust, irrevocable or revocable, would fit their situation best.

Join us:

  • August 10th from 9:30 am – 11:30 am at Russo Law Group Bay Shore Office (45 Park Ave.)
  • August 13th from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Borrelli’s in East Meadow (1580 Hempstead Tpke)
  • August 14th from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Greene Turtle in Smithtown (716 Smithtown Bypass)
  • August 15th from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at The Cuban in Garden City (987 Stewart Ave)
  • August 17th  from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Billy’s Beach Café in Long Beach (222 West Park Ave)

To attend any of these seminars, please register by clicking here or by calling Ashley at 516-393-3164.

Vincent with book

I am excited to announce the release of an updated and expanded edition of my book, New York Elder Law and Special Needs Practice, which, much to my delight, has been and continues to be a working tool for many elder law and special needs practitioners. The new edition addresses the planning needs of everyone with special needs, regardless of age. It also takes into account recent changes to the law, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The 2019 edition, consisting of 1,577 pages, covers all of the following topics: health care decision making, guardianship, social security benefits including Supplemental Security Income, Medicare options, Medicaid coverage and eligibility planning, Veteran benefits, and special needs planning (including First Party Special Needs and Third Party Supplemental Needs Trusts). Marvin Rachlin and I made every effort to write this treatise in a user-friendly manner so that it can serve as a handy reference guide rather than a bookshelf adornment.

In the ever-changing world of special needs planning and elder law, it is difficult to keep a book of this nature up-to-date. Many people deserve thanks for bringing this project to fruition, starting with my dear friend Marvin Rachlin, who passed away in July of 2018. Without Marvin’s inspiration and leadership, this treatise would not exist.

I would also like to thank my legal assistant, Janet Corsetti, for her diligence and thoroughness in helping us update the book. In addition, I would like to thank the following partners, attorneys and staff at Russo Law Group, P.C. for all of their assistance, research, and availability: my partners, Eric J. Einhart, Esq.; Marie Elena Puma, Esq.; Frank L. Buquicchio, Esq.; Kim N. Christian, Esq.; and Deanna M. Eble, Esq.; my associates, Joshua R. Berzak, Esq. and Lauren E. Soule, Esq.; and my legal assistants Michelle Y. Byrd and Joanna A. Perez. A very special thank you to Elena Hyman Renner, Melissa Stull, and Suzanne Milliman at West for their guidance and supervision.

Finally, I would like to thank the Elder Law and Special Needs Bar for keeping us on our toes. We welcome your continuing support and input for future editions.

For more information about New York Elder Law and Special Needs Practice, 2019 Edition, and how to order a copy, click the button below.

Join Vincent J. Russo for this Free Educational Seminar and Learn:

  • How to Access Quality Long Term Care
  • How to Pay for Long Term Care
  • How to Protect your Assets and Income
  • What will Happen if you Don’t have a Plan
Date: Jul 17, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant
1580 Hempstead Tpke
East Meadow, NY 11554

Seating is Limited. Registration Required.

Join us for our upcoming Estate Planning 101 Seminars



Tim has mentored and educated attorneys throughout the country to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities had, and continue to have access to qualified elder law and special needs planning attorneys. We thank Tim for his efforts on behalf of seniors and people with special needs. Naming him this Year’s NAELA Theresa Awards Honoree is the least we can do in return.

NAELA - National Academy of Elder Law AttorneysWashington, DC — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is pleased to announce that NAELA Fellow Tim Nay (Portland, Ore.) was named the 2019 recipient of the Theresa Award. The Theresa Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of those individuals who go above and beyond in helping and advocating for people with special needs.

Established in 1992, the Theresa Foundation grants funds for arts, music, dance, and recreational programs to help children with special needs attain the highest level of educational, artistic, emotional, physical, and intellectual achievement possible. The Theresa Foundation was created by NAELA member attorney Vincent J. Russo, CELA, CAP, and his wife, Susan, in honor of their daughter, Theresa, who was born severely disabled and passed away when she was just five and a half years old.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org, or to locate a NAELA member in your area, please visit NAELA.org/findlawyer.

Russo Law Group’s staff is proud to support Casual For The Cause

Long Island’s Biggest Dress-Down Day Is Happening Wednesday, May 22, 2019

HR Executives of Long Island: Long Island Cares needs your help to raise $50,000 in one day for Long Islanders in need!  All you have to do is get your favorite pair of shorts out of the closet, put aside five dollars, and ask your employees and colleagues to join you in the largest casual office day on Long Island.

When May 22nd arrives, collect the $5.00 fee from each participating employee (and add your own!) and send it to:

Cheryl Steinhauer, Special Events Manager
Long Island Cares
10 Davids Drive
Hauppauge, NY 11788


More information can be found on their website: https://www.licares.org/casualforthecause/ 


Do you enjoy friendly competition, supporting a great cause, and golf? 

Join us on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, New York for the 22nd Annual Swingin’ Fore Theresa Golf Outing!

A schedule of the day’s events and more information can be found here.

Funds raised during this event will allow the Theresa Foundation to provide scholarships for students at the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts (TAPA) for summer camp and respite on the weekends.

Don’t feel like golfing but still want to support the cause?

Join us at the gala reception that same evening (June 27, 2019) at 5:30 pm. During the reception, there will be a chance auction, silent auction, and live auction.

If you are unable to attend, you can also support the Theresa Foundation by donating a gift or basket for any of the auctions, purchasing raffle tickets, or by becoming an event sponsor.

For additional information or to register, click here.

Here at Russo Law Group, you are not just a client, you are family! Did you know that as a client of our firm you can give an immediate family member a “Family Plan” Coupon? We truly consider our client’s family, and our goal is to forge a bond with you and your entire family.  With that in mind, our “Family Plan” coupon is only offered to clients of our firm.  You can offer any immediate family members a coupon for their own comprehensive estate plan!  The coupon entitles your family member to a consultation and six (6) very important documents offered at a discounted, flat fee. Those documents are:


These are the six (6) basic (but essential!) estate planning documents everyone should have.  Recently, one of our clients gave their adult children the family plan coupon as a Christmas gift, which enabled them to plan for their own growing families. This was a valuable gift to them, as this was something that they were putting off due to the everyday challenges of raising a family.


If this is something that you are interested in learning more about, please contact your planning attorney or his or her case manager for a coupon to pass along to a family member.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!

There is still time to register for the 25th Annual Theresa Awards Dinner.

Each year, the Theresa Foundation hosts the Theresa Awards to recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals who go above and beyond in helping and advocating for those with special needs. The awards are presented at the Annual Theresa Awards Dinner held on the Friday evening closest to Theresa’s birthday. This is the Foundation’s main fundraiser of the year, which enables the Foundation to fund programs in the areas of music, dance, art and recreation.

This year’s event is being held at the Bridgeview Yacht Club in Island Park, NY on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm. We are proud to celebrate the Theresa Award Recipients of the Past 25 Years and Tim Nay, NAELA Theresa Award Recipient.

Help show appreciation toward these deserving honorees by purchasing your tickets to attend the 25th Annual Theresa Awards.  If you are unable to attend, you may click here to support the Theresa Foundation. We are still accepting donations of raffle baskets or restaurant certificates.

For more information, please click here.