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April 16, 2010

Legal Issues Bridging Family Law, Elder Law and Individual Rights Examined at Upcoming ABA Meeting in New Orleans

The intersection of marriage, long-term care and the rights of those involved will be among the issues explored at the upcoming meeting of the _ Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities spring council meeting May 15-17 in New Orleans.

During the meeting, members of the AIDS Coordinating Committee will gather for updates in preparation for the 18th International HIV/AIDS Conference that will take place in Vienna this July, and have the opportunity to attend a CLE program covering topics that bridge family law, elder law and individual rights.  Discussion will also focus on long-term care, the financial considerations of marriage, second marriage and divorce, pre-nuptial agreements and the ethical issues of joint representation.

The pre-nuptial discussion will focus on the issue of older clients who seek pre-nuptial agreements to protect accumulated assets and the challenges of preparing such agreements for clients who are entering into second or third marriages.  In addition to the discussion of such agreements, Mary Vidas — a family law practitioner and ABA executive counsel member — will offer tips relating to equity of the family home, reverse mortgages, retirement benefits, social security and life insurance.

Walter T. Burke, chair of the Elder Law Committee within the Senior Lawyers Division, will address the challenges of long-term care in a family setting and the issues that should be addressed with clients — specifically regarding spousal health — when it comes to pre-nuptial and post-nuptial arrangements.

Paul Sturgul will present information about the process and complexities of spousal refusal, a technique that can be used to gain medical assistance eligibility for one spouse who would otherwise not be eligible because a married couple is over the asset limits for Medicaid eligibility. Sturgul is co-chair of the Elder Rights Committee of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and co-vice chair of the Long Term Care, Medicaid and Special Needs Trust Committee of the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.

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