Congratulations are in order! Michael Amoruso has been selected for the 2013 New York Super Lawyers for Elder Law for the 4th consecutive year! In addition, for the 3rd consecutive year he has been selected as one of the Top 25 Westchester Attorneys in all practice areas.  But that's not all! Super Lawyers magazine just released a feature article on Michael and his Seeing Eye Dog Demitri in the issue announcing the 2013 list!

Check out the article and Demitri at the following link:

ElderCounsel Announces New Office Management System Division
ElderCounsel is very excited to announce the launch of a new initiative, “ElderCounsel Office Management System” (“EC OMS”). The EC OMS program will provide elder law attorneys an administrative system to streamline office processes, hire staff, manage clients, and much more.

ElderCounsel has been working with Audrey Ehrhardt, an ElderCounsel member and elder law attorney from Tallahassee, Florida, to create a series of practice manuals and educational workshops to help attorneys become more efficient in running their practices. ElderCounsel is pleased to bring Audrey on board, as she is truly committed to developing systems and processes that most attorneys simply don’t have the time or resources to develop on their own.

The practice manuals we are developing for the EC OMS include a step-by-step process for nearly everything an elder law attorney might need: office set up, appropriate staff, as well as scripts and forms for everything from the initial telephone call from a potential client through the day the representation is concluded. The EC OMS will provide ongoing support to subscribers in the area of office management for an elder law practice.

The EC OMS will be available for purchase by both EC members and non-members and will include a combination of written manuals, monthly webinars and group sessions on various topics related to law office management, systems and processes, through online discussion groups dedicated to law office management and systems. Additional details including pricing will be available in the coming weeks.

Audrey will serve in the role of Director of the EC OMS Division and will lead the education, group discussions and online discussions related to law office systems for subscribers on a monthly basis, and will assist ElderCounsel in updating and expanding our offerings in this area. As an introduction to this area and to Audrey, please join us on May 9th for a free webinar, “Top 5 Elder Law Office System Mishaps (and How to Avoid Them)” led by Audrey.

You can reach Audrey by email,, or by phone, 888-789-9908 x582.

Good news on a review of ElderDocx - ElderDocx Review by Trusts & Estates Online Publication

ElderCounsel Principal Howard S. Krooks, J.D., CELA, CAP, has been named President-Elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) for 2012-2013!  As President-Elect, Howard will help develp recommendations and plans for innovative opportunities on issues and trends relevant to NAELA and Elder and Special Needs Law.

I am thrilled to be provided with the opportunity to shape policy within NAELA, an organization devoted to assisting its members with providing the very best legal services to seniors and people with disabilities, two groups that are sorely in need of advocacy and legal representation," Mr. Krooks said. 

Howard S. Krooks is a partner of Elder Law Associates PA and is admitted to practice law in Florida and New York.  His practice is dedicated to elder law and trusts, along with estates matters including representing seniors and persons with special needs and their families with asset protection planning, supplemental needs trusts, guardianships, wills, planning for disability, Medicaid, trusts and advance directives.

Mr. Krooks is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and is a member of the Council for Advanced Practitioners of (NAELA). He has been a member of the NAELA Board of Directors for several years, most recently serving as Vice President. He was honored with the designation of NAELA Fellow in 2009. He serves on the Executive Council of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section "Member of the Year" in 2010. He was chosen as a Florida Super Lawyer from 2007 to 2011, a Metro New York Super Lawyer from 2008 to 2011, named to Florida Trend magazine's Florida Legal Elite in 2007, 2010 and 2011, and has an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

ElderCounsel LLC is proud to announce that Executive Director Valerie L. Peterson has been named Adjunct Professor for Elder Law at Stetson University College of Law.

Ms. Peterson will teach a course in Veterans Benefits to students pursuing an LL.M. degree in Elder Law.

Founded in 1900 as Florida's first law school, Stetson University College of Law has educated outstanding lawyers, judges and other leaders for 111 years.

Ms. Peterson joined ElderCounel in January, 2008 as Education Director and Member Liaison and in January, 2009, was named Executive Director.

She is accredited by the Veterans Administration to assist veterans with claims, and is a member of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of VA Pension Planners.

ElderCounsel in the news! Valerie Peterson, Executive Director was featured in the October 2011 issue of the Tampa Bay Edition of the Senior Voice. See the article "What is Elder Law and When Might You Need an Elder Law Attorney?" written by Sheryl Hunter, CEO of Lifelines Academy and Network for this insightful and educational piece!

 Valerie Peterson, Executive Director of ElderCounsel will be presenting at the Academy of VA Pension Planners Conference April 19-20, 2012 in Atlanta, GA. For more information on this conference please visit ElderCounsel and WealthCounsel members will receive $100 off of the registration fee when using promo code EC WC Member.

 Congratulations to ElderCounsel Principal Michael Amoruso (and his seeing eye dog, Warren), and ElderCounsel member Mike Weeks for making the cover of this month's NAELA News!  This publication is available to all NAELA members in both print and electronic form.  A featured article in this issue is "The Future of NAELA" and features interviews with Michael Amoruso, Mike Weeks and more!

 Congratulations are in ORDER!  An announcement by NAELA was made on March 16, 2011 that ElderCounsel Principal Howie Krooks has been named Vice President of NAELA, and ElderCounsel member Julie Fiedler and ElderCounsel Principal Michael Amoruso accepted a position on the NAELA Board of Directors! Congratulations and best wishes to each of you as you serve in your respective roles.

Our very own, Valerie Peterson, Executive Director was a speaker on Veterans Benefits for the Colorado Bar Association on December 3rd, 2010.

Elder Law Attorney Michael J. Amoruso Addresses Long Term Care at Home
Rye Brook, NY - (December 16, 2010) -
Michael J. Amoruso, Managing Partner at Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP, recently addressed the challenges facing older individuals who wish to remain at home during their elder years and offered solutionsthat make it possible.  He presented at a seminar, "So You Want to Stay at Home? It takes a Village," which was hosted by Gramatan Village and Senior Bridge.  Other panelists included Sue Tozzi, LMSW, Director of Bronxville Seniors; Barbara Stires, Directo of Tuckahoe Seniors; Debbie Matystik, LMSW, Professional Development Specialist for Senior Bridge; and Julie Dalton, Executive Directo of Gramatan Village.  The seminar took place at the Bronxville Public Library and addressed aging in place issues and support for individuals who choose to stay at home within their own community as they age. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "about 70 percent of individuals over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care services during their lifetime."  In Westchester County, nearly 20 percent of the population is over the age of 60, according to the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, and that percentage is steadily increasing.
"Our Seniors and their families should know and understand the importance of getting their legal house in order before a crisis occurs, " Amoruso said.  Given his legal expertise in crisis planning, Mr. Amoruso empowers his clients to maintain control over their lives if they choose to remain in their home.  Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP is located at 800 Westchester Avenue, Suite S-320, Rye Brook NY.  For additional information, visit or call 914-253-9255.

About Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP:  Established in 2001, Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP is a law firm dedicated to assisting clients at all stages of life to preare and plan for themselves and their loved ones through long term care planning, estate, tax, financial and elder law planning.  The firm takes a proactive approach, using its experience, skill and knowledge to develop a comprehensive plan for the benefit of each client.  A unique working relationship brings a distinctive and highly beneficial perspective to each client's case.

ElderCounsel Principal Howie Krooks was quoted recently in a Wall Street Journal article addressing the concerns of families serving as caregivers.  There are some great statistics in the article as well as links to helpful resources for you and your clients.  A good portion of the article talks about caregiver agreements and the importance of compensating caregivers and making sure everything is in writing.  Here is the link to the article: Siblings Step Up

Mississippi CSRA and MMMNA Case. The Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed the lower court's ruling that a state court has no jurisdiction to increase the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) or Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) prior to a petitioner filing for Medicaid. Click here for the case.

New Jersey Personal Services Contract Case. The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a penalty assessed under a personal service contract (called a "life care contract") between the petitioner and her daughter, in which petitioner made a lump sum advance payment to her daughter for the future provision of personal care services. Click here for the case.

An Exciting New Development Regarding Promissory Notes
We are pleased to announce that Florida has recently changed its Medicaid Manual to remove language that previously rendered all promissory notes countable resources, even if they were DRA compliant notes. With this change in the Medicaid Manual, it appears that the restriction on the use of notes in Florida has been lifted, although only time will tell if the countability issue has been resolved fully through actual Medicaid Applications being filed where notes were utilized in the planning. The change in policy by Florida Medicaid was accomplished through months of advocacy on the part of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) and Florida Bar Elder Law Section Joint Public Policy Task Force, led by a sub-committee of Task Force members consisting of Howie Krooks (ElderCounsel Principal), Lauchlin Waldoch and Ellen Morris.

This is important not just to Florida attorneys, but to anyone who lives in a state where promissory notes are not currently allowed. To quote Howie Krooks, “The moral of the story is of course that, at least in our experience, it is worthwhile to pursue an ongoing relationship with Medicaid, one that spans the test of time and not just an occasional contact. It may not resolve every issue, and litigation will remain an option for some issues that cannot be resolved in this way. Having said that, ongoing communication could provide an extremely useful and powerful way to effectuate change in Medicaid policy and, at a minimum, will reveal to the elder law bar (and vice versa) the thinking of the Medicaid agency on important policy issues. We hope that elder law sections and NAELA Chapters around the country will be encouraged to blaze this trail by learning of our experience in our collective ongoing efforts to effectuate positive policy change in matters relating to our profession and our clients.”

Click here for the article outlining the efforts of the Task Force and sub-committee in making this change at the state level. This is a great example of the advocacy which can be done within individual states to effectuate change. Congratulations to the Joint Task Force and to Howie, Lauchlin and Ellen for a job well done! 

ElderCounsel has made it to the floor of the U.S. Congress! ElderCounsel Principal Michael Amoruso, Esq. has been recognized by Honorable Nita M. Lowey for his advocacy for seniors and persons with disabilities. Michael was honored for his part in forming ElderCounsel, LLC, the premier elder law and special needs document drafting provider as well as his commitment to providing compassionate comfort and care for those with serious illness as a practicing attorney. The Honorable Nita M. Lowey further honored Michael for offering his community a beacon into how society should treat the sick and elderly. Click here for more details!

Please join us in congratulating ElderCounsel principal Howard S. Krooks, J.D., CELA, CAP for being named a New York Super Lawyer - Metro Edition for the second consecutive year.  He recently became Of Counsel to ElderCounsel principal Michael Amoruso's firm in Westchester, NY.

Howie Krooks, one of our ElderCounsel principals, was recently awarded the honor of becoming a Fellow with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). NAELA Fellows are attorneys who have been members of the Academy for at least three years, whose careers concentrate on elder law, and who have distinguished themselves both by making exceptional contributions to meeting the needs of older Americans and by demonstrating commitment to the Academy. Election as a Fellow signifies that the lawyer is recognized by peers as a model for others, and an exceptional lawyer and leader.

Howie was also recently elected Secretary of NAELA, and he will be a presenter at the upcoming NAELA National Conference. 

Michael Amoruso was recently elected President of the New York NAELA chapter, and Chair of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section. Michael will also be featured on the television show, “Family Comes First™.” “Family Comes First™” is an ongoing television series that focuses on challenges real-life families in New York are facing and offers viewers advice and resources from leading community organizations. Each episode focuses on one topic – Arthritis, Elder Care, Alzheimer’s, Special Needs – and profiles the challenges and triumphs of one family and offers viewers information on resources available to them from local community organizations.  



The following is a list of events ElderCounsel will be attending the next few months. Please stop by our table and say hello – we would love to meet you!