Transcription

R2020A S S O C I AT IJUNE 2020 VOL. 7 NO. 6p. 6p. 3Inside .4Update: Criminal Justice Reform in New York StateBy Professor Lissa Griffin, Esq.8New Medicaid Eligibility Rules Make Asset ProtectionPlanning an Urgent Need!By Anthony J. Enea, Esq.10 Structuring Your Family Office for Maximum Tax BenefitBy Lisa Rispoli, Rozleen Giwani and Robert Tobey12 Report: NYSBA’s April House of Delegates MeetingBy Andrew Schriever, Esq. . . and more!OWCBAHow One QuestionMight Turn theTide of AttorneyMental HealthTHEPRACTICEPAGENWEAUYTHE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION’S MONTHLY MAGAZINEEST E R CO1896BLAW YERCHNTwestchesterST

S O C IATTHE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BARASSOCIATION’S MONTHLY MAGAZINEPublished by theWestchester County Bar Association4 Westchester Park Drive, Suite 155White Plains, NY 10604Tel.: 914.761.3707 Fax: 914.761.9402Email: [email protected] www.wcbany.orgOfficers and StaffSubmission of material to the WCBA for inclusion in theWestchester LAWYER, Westchester Bar Journal, website orother WCBA publication, grants the WCBA limited copyrightand full permission to reprint the material in any WCBApublication, on the WCBA website, or with LexisNexisor Westlaw at any time without additional consent.Please note that any opinions expressed in the articlescontained herein are solely those of the author(s) anddo not constitute positions taken by the WCBA.4Update: Criminal Justice Reform in New York StateBy Professor Lissa Griffin, Esq.6How One Question Might Turn the Tide of Attorney MentalHealthBy Bobbi M. Bittker, Esq.8New Medicaid Eligibility Rules Make Asset Protection Planningan Urgent Need!By Anthony J. Enea, Esq.10Structuring Your Family Office for Maximum Tax BenefitBy Lisa Rispoli, Rozleen Giwani and Robert Tobey12Report: NYSBA’s April House of Delegates MeetingBy Andrew Schriever, Esq.DEPARTMENTS1From the PresidentBy Wendy Marie Weathers, Esq.3The Practice PageBy Hon. Mark C. Dillon14Member SpotlightBy Tejash V. Sanchala, Esq.16What’s Going On: Membership News17CLE/Event News18From the Back BenchBy Richard M. Gardella, Esq.20Classifieds and Advertising RatesGet Published in Westchester Lawyer Magazine!westchesterLAW YERTHE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION’S MONTHLY MAGAZINESTCHEST E R CO1896ABKaren BeltranBrian S. CohenMichael H. FriedmanKyle-Beth HilferJames K. LandauNelida LaraHon. Michael J. McDermottJohn PappalardoSherry Levin WallachUYBoard of DirectorsFEATURESNTWendy Marie Weathers, Esq.PRESIDENTJames L. Hyer, Esq.PRESIDENT-ELECTDolores Gebhardt, Esq.VICE PRESIDENTAndrew P. Schriever, Esq.VICE PRESIDENTDenise P. Ward, Esq.SECRETARYRobert C. Hertman, Esq.ASSISTANT SECRETARYPaul M. MIllman, Esq.TREASURERJulie Cvek Curley, Esq.ASSISTANT TREASURERRichard M. Gardella, Esq.EDITOR-IN-CHIEFStephanie L. Burns, Esq.MANAGING EDITORIsabel DichiaraEXECUTIVE DIRECTORRoni BrumbergerDIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONSFern RichterDIRECTOR OF CLE, MEMBERSHIP & EVENTSBrittney MooreDIRECTOR OF GRIEVANCE, LRS &ASSIGNED COUNSELMary Ellen McCourtMAGAZINE DESIGN & PRODUCTIONIN THIS ISSUE WEASR2019NLAWYERNRIOBAWESTCHESTERTYW ESTEST E R C OUNCHA S S O C I AT IOWCBAJULY 2019 VOL. 6 NO. 7GenderandSalaryEquityin 2019If you are an attorney, affiliate, paralegal or studentmember—we are interested in hearing from you!p. 8GOLF OUTING& DINNERTHEPRACTICEPAGEWestchester Lawyer magazine isalways looking for articles ofinterest to our members.Inside .Facts Are Stubborn Things 6Update 2019: Elder Law/Trusts & Estates 10We are interested in articles that are newsworthyand informative for our members, such as descriptions of important developments in, or unique perspectives on, areas of current law. Submissions should be 600-1200 words and preferably an originalarticle that has not been published elsewhere.MondayJuly 22, 2019p. 3The Hudson ValleyRent Riot Trialsof 1766p. 15The Courthouse Barber Shop 12Member Spotlight 16What’s Going On: Membership News 18CLE Center 20From the Back Bench 22. and more!Email articles or letters of inquiry to [email protected]

From FROMtheTHEPresidentPRESIDENT By Honorable Linda S. JamiesonWendy Marie Weathers, Esq.Welcome to June 2020! Eventhough I am writing this address thefirst week in May, I am hopeful that Junehas brought us into the recovery phaseof this pandemic. As Chief Judge JanetDiFiore declared, “Not only can wehandle the pressure, we can triumphover this pandemic . We will emergefrom this awful pandemic—and wewill emerge better, stronger and moreresilient than ever before.”The Westchester County BarAssociation is committed to remainingrelevant and to being a strong resourcefor the bench, bar, students andcommunity. We continue To Listen, ToLearn and To Grow each and every day.From crisis comes opportunity. In thepast month, the WCBA has providednumerous webinars, mostly at no cost,to educate and share information asquickly as we obtain it. We are gratefulto our members, business affiliates,bench and community for allowing usto share your information and expertisewith the entire community. It has beena wonderful opportunity for greaterpositive collaboration and interactionwith all of you.The Westchester County BarAssociation has created many linkson its website to assist in navigatingthrough all the information providedfrom so many directions, categorizedby subject matter and audience. (Seebox for list.)WCBA Website Links forAttorneys & the PublicnCommunity RecoveryHere WCBA continues tocollect and centralize publications, webinars, and resourcetools that may be helpful toour members. From learning how to adapt to workingremotely to simplifying themany updates on EmergencySBA Programs & COVID-19Capital Programs, Unemployment Insurance, and Health& Disability Insurance, theWCBA remains strong andresilient.nResources for Attorneysprovides updates regardingchanges in the State andFederal Courts as well as theNinth Judicial District.nResources for Childrenprovides both educationaland fun resources such as thePBS Daily newsletter, reading,art and mindfulness videoscreated by child developmentexperts.nResources for the Publicprovides comprehensiveinformation to the publicincluding contact informationfor legal services and community outreach.The WCBA will continue tocollaborate and communicate for all ofus To Listen, To Learn, and To Grow.The Westchester County BarAssociation and the WestchesterCounty Bar Foundation are sensitiveto the needs of our local law studentsduring these challenging times. Lastmonth, we were very happy to donate 8000 in support of the Pace LawEmergency Assistance for Students(P.L.E.A.S.) fund. The next generationof lawyers are truly impacted by thispandemic and we are honored tohelp the students and the entire Pacecommunity.Collaboration and networking continue during this pandemic. The WCBAhas made tremendous efforts to continue ways of staying in touch. One ofthese is through “Coffee Talk”, hostedonline by yours truly, every Thursdaybeginning at 4:30pm. Since our inaugural Zoom meeting on April 2, theWCBA colleagues have been networking every Thursday afternoon. Duringthis hour, colleagues share how theyare adapting to this “New Normal”. Wediscuss technology, courts, family, economic programs and mental wellness.It has organically grown into a casual,informative and fun conversation. Wewelcome your participation! In orderto keep the Zoom meeting secure,pre-registration is required. We lookforward to seeing you.WESTCHESTER LAWYER JUNE 2020 1

FROM THE PRESIDENT(continued from page 1)I am proud to share the creation ofthe WCBA’s Community Recovery TaskForce, that is comprised of a cross-disciplinary team of WCBA attorneys, supervised law graduates, and affiliatedprofessionals offering guidance andsolutions to the current legal challenges facing first responders, the businessand legal community, and the citizensof Westchester County as a result ofthe COVID-19 pandemic. In keepingwith the mission of the WCBA, ourmission is to employ our resources toaid Westchester County in navigating,recovering, and ultimately emergingstronger than before.The Task Force is addressing matters such as wills and estate planning,employment, small business, landlord/tenant and more. Chaired by WCBA’sVice-President, Dolores Gebhardt, Esq.and Rebecka Levitt, J.D., a recent graduate of Elisabeth Haub School of Law atPace University and Vice President ofStudent Bar Association, the Community Recovery Task Force is seeking volunteers to answer questions, negotiatesettlements and draft legal documents.To join this great cause, please contactus at [email protected] we approach the month ofJune 2020, there are many things to begrateful for. First and foremost, congratulations to every student, from Pre-K tograduate school, on your graduation! Asa mother of a high school senior, I canappreciate the mixed feelings of pridein your loved one’s achievements andthe sadness of not being able to celebrate them in traditional ways. No matter if you are completing high school,college or graduate school, there are alot of unknowns out there. It makes theprecipice feel even scarier than it doeswhen things are normal. Specifically,to the high school, college and graduate school classes of 2020, stay strong!Better days are ahead as we navigatethrough the “New Normal”. First step .Graduation. Next step conquering theworld!Happy Father’s Day to all the dadsout there! Wishing you a very healthy,safe and happy day with your family.We also extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved onesduring this pandemic. While recognizing that the world now is faced withmany unknowns, we, as members ofthe bench, bar and students, should cooperate and collaborate as much as wecan. To help recover from this pandemic, I ask you all to join me in respondingto this life changing event by endeavoring To Listen, To Learn, and To Grow.Seize this time to help each other. Inthe words of Governor Cuomo, “stayon the balls of your feet.” I invite youall to please step up and volunteer onthe WCBA Community Recovery TaskForce.Thank you for the privilege and theopportunity of serving each and everyone of you. Be well, be safe and Godbless.Remember, if any of you would liketo reach me with comments, suggestions or concerns, I am always available at [email protected] or byappointment, by calling 914.573.6213.Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of LawNow Offers a Part-Time Flex ProgramPace University’s ElisabethHaub School of Law offers apart-time flex program, making the Law School more accessible to working professionals and others.ing new opportunities for students who want to pursue thelaw and legal training,” said Dean Horace Anderson. “By nowoffering required courses on evenings and weekends, we areexpanding access to legal education and providing rigorous academics and training to those who are working professionalsor have other daytime responsibilities.”The new scheduling optionallows part-time law studentsto take all of their requiredclasses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as on Saturday mornings, as they pursuetheir J.D. degrees at the Law School campus in White Plains, NY.“Haub Law is proud of our tradition of ‘opportunitas’ – provid-Students can learn more about the part-time program andscheduling options, including a list of frequently asked questionsat: heduling-option.2 JUNE2020 WESTCHESTER LAWYER

SERVICE OF PROCESS BY CPLR 312-aBy Hon. Mark C. DillonCPLR 312-a is the most recentaddition to the various availablemethods for serving process, but sincetime flies, it is already past its 21stanniversary.Everyone in the legal communityagrees that service of process is atechnical endeavor. Even processservers, who make their livingperforming these tasks and who arewell versed in the statutory details,are not infallible. In the 1980s, therewere well-founded concerns that thetechnicalities of the traditional methodsfor serving process were onerous, notto mention there being instances of“sewer service”, where the processdescribed in affidavits of service did notactually occur (Shaw v. Shaw, 97 A.D.2d403, 404 [2d Dep’t 1983]).Personal service, which soundsstraight-forward, involves technicalitiessuch as whether the description ofthe person served in the affidavit ofservice matches that of the defendant(Ismailov v. Cohen, 26 A.D.3d 412, 413[2d Dep’t 2006]). Service by suitableage and discretion spawns litigationover whether the person receiving thesummons was in fact of a suitable ageand/or discretion (Room Additions, Inc.v. Howard, 124 Misc.2d 19 [N.Y.C. Civ.Ct., Bronx Cty. 1984]). The “nail andmail” method generates litigation overwhether the process server exercised“due diligence” in first attemptingservice personally (CPLR 308[1]) orby suitable age and discretion (CPLR308[2]) (e.g., McSorley v. Spear, 50A.D.3d 652, 653-54 [2d Dep’t 2008]).Alternate methods of service that maybe permitted upon application to thecourt, such as service by publication(CPLR 316), unrealistically assume thattarget defendants read the Legal Noticesof newspapers. I don’t do so. Have you?Enter CPLR 312-a in 1989. Thestatute represented a well-intentionedeffort to avoid the vicissitudes of servingprocess under the traditional methods,by instead using a new method that issimple, cheap, and verifiable. It has notbeen the panacea that was hoped, but isused by some attorneys to good effect.The idea behind CPLR 312-a is simple,but is afflicted by its own technicalities.The plaintiff’s summons with notice,summons and complaint, or notice ofpetition and petition, is served upon thedefendant by mail, properly addressedand posted.The mailing may be addressedto any location where the defendantis at, whether a residence, domicile,place of business, or other. Themailing is accompanied by two copiesof a Statement of Service by Mail(“Statement”), one of which is to beexecuted by the defendant and returnedto the plaintiff’s counsel, and the secondcopy kept by the defendant. CPLR 312a provides a template of the languagethat is to be used in the Statement.Defendants are to execute theStatement within 30 days of its receipt.Service is deemed complete upon thedefendant’s execution of the Statement,and the Statement has the same forceand effect as an affidavit of service(CPLR 312-a[c]). To facilitate matters,the plaintiff is required to include withservice a properly-addressed, postagepre-paid return envelope. Service bythis method is defective if two copies ofa proper Statement are not provided, orif the service documents fail to includethe required pre-addressed returnenvelope with its 55-cent stamp.The problem with CPLR 312-a,beyond its simple technicalities, isthat its success depends entirely uponthe cooperation of the defendant.If the defendant fails or refuses toexecute and return the Statement, theplaintiff must use another method ofservice from scratch, and hopefullyhas enough time left under CPLR 306b to do so without need of a timeextension (Komanicky v. Contractor,146 A.D.3d 1042 [3d Dep’t 2017]). Theonly penalty for a defendant’s noncompliance is to reimburse the plaintifffor the reasonable expenses of serviceby another method (CPLR 312-a[f]).That expense may be minor comparedto the overall costs of the litigation, orwhen damages are sought in the tensor hundreds of thousands of dollars,or millions. Defendants have littleincentive to comply.As litigators, you will do as youwish for serving process. CPLR 312-arepresents a good concept, but it hasnot worked out over its two decadesquite as well as originally hoped.Hon. Mark C. Dillon is a Justice at theAppellate Division, Second Department,an Adjunct Professor of New York Practiceat Fordham Law School, and an author ofCPLR Practice Commentaries inMcKinney’s.WESTCHESTER LAWYER JUNE 2020 3

THE PACE PAGEUpdate . . .Criminal Justice Reformin New York StateBy Professor Lissa Griffin, Esq.In April 2019, the New York Legislature passed an historic criminal justice reform package. Major changes included limiting judicial discretion to setcash bail, broadening and acceleratingdiscovery, and strengthening the rightto a speedy trial. With respect to bail,the new law bars judges in most cases from imposing cash bail except forviolent felonies, effectively reversingthe long-standing practice of keepingpresumptively innocent people in jailfor minor crimes simply because theycould not afford to post cash bail fortheir release. The legislation also mandates greater disclosure of evidenceby prosecutors under an acceleratedtime-table -- 15 days after arraignment. The speedy trial time limits arealso accelerated. The legislation tookeffect January 1, 2020.Backlash against these reformswas instantaneous. The New YorkCity Police Department released sta-4 JUNE2020 WESTCHESTER LAWYERtistics showing a huge spike in crimesallegedly caused by the bail reform.Prosecutors complained, and someactually quit, because of the increasedwork load required to meet the newdisclosure timetable. The media hada field day, reporting the arrest of awoman for a hate crime who had beenreleased under the new law. The mayor and governor expressed concern.Supporters of the legislation disputed the criticisms and argued forpatience. Nevertheless, after less thantwo months, the legislature agreed torevisit the reforms and made significant changes. These changes werepassed as part of the budget on April 3,2020. Fifteen crimes were added to thelist of crimes for which judges could setbail, including certain grand larcenies,certain burglaries, sex trafficking, andpersistent felony offenders. Prosecutors could now withhold evidence ona demonstration of gang affiliation andthe 15-day disclosure requirement wasextended to 20 days if the defendant isincarcerated and 35 if the defendant isfree. Finally, new requirements for collection of pre-trial data on who is released and in what cases will substantially improve the ability to determinethe impact of the bail reforms. Giventhe notorious lack of transparency inU.S. criminal justice, this provision isan important step.What does all of this mean for defense lawyers, prosecutors, and evenHaub Law students working in theSchool’s defense and prosecution clinics as well as 2020 graduates? Defenselawyers, including students in Pace’sCriminal Justice Clinic who representmisdemeanor defendants in the Bronx,were provided with early and morecomplete discovery, requiring fasterinvestigation, and in some cases theneed to seek remedies against prosecutors who failed to meet the new requirements. With the onset of the pandemic, which required that clinic casesbe adjourned until June, the studentsare working with defense lawyersseeking medical release of detainees.In addition, the clinic studentshave been drafting a comparative analysis of decarceration efforts and conditions of confinement in New YorkCity and several upstate counties, andbetween New York State and Illinois,particularly between Rikers Island andthe Cook County Jail, which has been

an extremely hot spot for COVID infections nationally. Included in theanalysis is a comparative look at criminal justice-related responses to theCOVID crisis and other emergencies,such as Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires.Law students in Pace’s Prosecution Externship Program are remotely assisting prosecutors in doing theirown work remotely, including accessing all necessary case materials formedical release motions and complying with the new discovery rules. Regrettably, the Pace Criminal Justice Institute’s Symposium, “Game ChangingReforms in the NYS Criminal JusticeSystem and their Implementation,”originally scheduled for March, whichincluded prominent judges, public defenders, and prosecutors, had to bepostponed. The Institute’s blog continues to publish. The twenty-three2020 graduates who will be new NYSprosecutors in the fall are preparingfor a transformed universe.Ironically, the new legislation—reforming the reform legislation—waspassed on April 3, 2020, at the exacttime when the public health risk presented by large jail and prison populations resulted in the ad hoc release oflarge numbers of detainees. The concerns that led to legislative pullbackhave coincided with the release ofmore detainees than could probablyhave been imagined. And there arenow new and pressing challenges tothe criminal justice system that coulddwarf what appeared so critical several months ago. It remains to be seenhow and to what extent the reformswill fare in an altered criminal justiceuniverse.That altered criminal justice universe, and an update on the statusand implementation of New York’sreforms, will be the subject of theLaw School’s postponed Pace CriminalJustice Institute Symposium which,whether online or in-person, will beheld in the fall.Professor Lissa Griffin is an expert in criminal procedure and comparative criminalprocedure. She has written extensivelyon criminal law, wrongful convictions andcomparative criminal procedure issues.She helped design and teaches Pace LawSchool›s 2nd year skills course. Prior tocoming to Pace, Professor Griffin was involved in criminal and civil appellate litigation privately and with the Legal AidSociety. She is the author of two treatises: Federal Criminal Appeals and Multidefendant Criminal Cases: Federal Lawand Procedure. She teaches Criminal Procedure, Comparative Criminal Procedure,Professional Responsibility, and Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiating, and hastaught in the London Law Program.WESTCHESTER LAWYER JUNE 2020 5

How One QuestionMight Turn the Tide ofAttorney Mental HealthBy Bobbi M. Bittker, Esq.Applying for admission to the NewYork State Bar, I had to indicate whether I had any (mental) condition thatwould impair my ability to practice.However, aspiring lawyers will no longer be asked about their mental healthwhen applying for admission in NewYork. This about-face could be a gamechanger, and other jurisdictions are following suit.From Depressed to DeterminedFifteen years elapsed between mygraduation from law school and sittingfor the bar. In that time, I had threechildren, bought a house, and adopteda dog. My life was happy: good marriage, healthy children, the dog. Wedidn’t struggle financially. I volunteeredin my community, but I didn’t work outside the house. Still, I fought to keepmy head above water. Eventually, I resigned myself to never taking those barexams. I would be the ABD of the legalworld.We didn’t realize until I was 37 thatmy lack of energy and motivation wereproducts of depression. What a reliefto have a reason for my resignation.But I never asked for help before andhad the ‘pulls herself up by the bootstraps’ mentality. To go from JD to Esq.,I had to get over my objections to helpand taking ‘too much medication’ forwhat I long misperceived to be a personal flaw.6 JUNE2020 WESTCHESTER LAWYERThere was no quick fix but as treatment progressed, I felt positive changes. Soon, I was eager to scratch thingsoff the bucket list and began gatheringtranscripts, recommendations, andall manner of paperwork to sit for mybar exams. My unremarkable past leftme confident about my ‘character andfitness’ to practice. But then I stareddown a question that turned my thinking on its head.What’s mental health got to do with it?“Do you currently have any condition or impairment, including but notlimited to a mental, emotional, psychiatric, nervous or behavioral disorder orcondition which in any way impairsyour ability to practice law?” I confess,I don’t recall my answer. I was newlydiagnosed, under treatment, and feltenergized in a way I hadn’t in years. Butwould depression impair my ability topractice? I asked myself, would it haveeven on my toughest days? I refused tobe dishonest, nor hide anything thatwould impair my ability to practice.That question stopped me in mytracks. Regardless of the answer, whatI do remember is reading it. Taking abreak. Coming back, thinking moreabout how to respond. Wondering,would depression impair my ability topractice? I struggled, unchecked, foralmost two decades, yet away fromhome, it was a non-issue. A function-al depressive! I was competent, engaged, reliable, and always activelypresent for my children. I didn’t seewhy work would be different. BelievingI had nothing that impaired my ability,I either said: “I have depression, but itwould not be an impairment.” Or, stillfeeling stigmatized, “no impairment”believing that to be true.The application also read, “An applicant may be denied admission wherethe applicant’s ability to function is impaired in a manner relevant to the fitness to practice law, or where the applicant demonstrates a lack of candor bythe applicant’s responses.” Candidateswith a mental health diagnosis feel thesqueeze. If you reveal it, and the committee decides that you are ‘not fit’ topractice, you lose the years of study andmoney invested. If you don’t, either outof fear, or because you don’t believe itwill impair your ability to practice, andit is later discovered, your ‘lack of candor’ could render you unfit. But there isanother way.To ask or not to ask?For different reasons, many peoplein the United States have not been diagnosed. Either no one recognized theproblem, they couldn’t afford to see adoctor, or they chose not to seek helpfor a variety of reasons. What if candidates didn’t seek help because theyknew it jeopardized their career goals?

What if candidates didn’tseek help because theyknew it jeopardized theircareer goals?More than 35 states ask aboutmental health on their applicationsfor admission to the bar. It’s no secretthat some attorneys self-medicateand drift into substance abuse due towork stressors. The question is the tipof the iceberg when it comes to stigmatizing mental illness as weakness.According to a NYSBA report, “[t]hepresence of mental health questionson the bar exam, and stigma aroundmental illness, have proven to be barriers to treatment within the legal profession.” The report specifies that onlyhalf of the 42 percent of surveyed lawstudents who believed they neededhelp for mental health issues actuallysought treatment. Do we want law students and attorneys, often under heavystress, to forgo necessary health care?New York recently decided thatquestion will no longer be asked. Withthe mental health question removed,hopefully that statistic and the stigmawill diminish. “Today marks a historicstep forward in addressing the ongoingmental health crisis in the legal profession,” Hank Greenberg, NYSBA President, said. “Future generations of NewYork lawyers no longer need to live infear that bravely and smartly seekingtreatment for mental health issuescould one day derail their careers.” TheWorking Group on Attorney MentalHealth said the question may also violate the Americans with Disabilities Act,which “prohibits the screening of candidates on the basis of mental disability.” Michigan is the next state slated toremove the question from its application for admission to the bar.Happily Ever EsquireWith the luxury of online bar review, I studied like it was my full-timejob. I intermittently wrangled my threekids who benefited from seeing that I,too, had homework. I took the examin July. My score was released on agloomy November night, just afterSuperstorm Sandy.The Character and Fitness interview was my final hurdle. I was nervous,but the Judge was amiable and relaxed.He asked the obvious, ‘what made youwait 15 years to take your bar exam?’ Idon’t remember whether I mentioneddepression. Although I couldn’t easilyavoid it. He was impressed that I studied and passed while being home withthree kids and said he had no questionabout my ability to practice. He signedoff. It was over.Depression loomed large afteryears of missing the signs. Treatmenthelped me accomplish long-abandonedgoals, and I thought it would only be upfrom there. Yet, the diagnosis broughtme from relief to risk when I learned itcould prevent my admission. The irony? Had I not sought treatment, I wouldnever have encountered the question.Thanks to the Working Group on Attorney Mental Health and the Committeeon Admission to the Bar, applicants nolonger have to worry that seeking helpwill be a barrier to their career. This is ahuge step toward removing the stigmain our profession and should be widelycelebrated.Bobbi M. Bittker, Esq., is a member of the BedfordTown Board and a Civil Rights Advocate.She is the ABA CRSJ Section SOGI Committee co-chair, and Human Rights Magazine editorial board member, and serveson the NYSBA Committee on Civil Rights.WESTCHESTER LAWYER JUNE 2020 7

New Medicaid Eligibility RulesMake Asset Protection Planningan Urgent Need!By Anthony J. Enea, Esq.For the longest time, New Yorkerswere eligible for Medicaid home careservices without worrying about thefive (5) year look back period for non-exempt asset transfers, which is imposedfor Medicaid nursing home eligibility.Commencing on October 1, 2020,(unless delayed by the Commissionerof Health) and as part of the New YorkState Budget enacted on April 3, 2020,there will be a thirty (30) month lookback period for all home care services.This lookback period is to be calculated the same way the penalty period iscalculated for skilled nursing home level Medicaid (using the regional rate asthe divisor). The Regional rate for theNorthern Metropolitan area for theyear 2020 is 12,805.00 per month.Thus, for all home care applicationsfiled on or after October 1, 2020, anytransfer of assets (gifts/non-exempttransfers) will create a thirty (30) monthlookback period. (Section 366 of theNew York Social Services Law Subd. 5,Chapter 56, Part MM, Section 13814.)8 JUNE2020 WESTCHESTER LAWYERThis is a devastating turn of eventsfor Medicaid home care applicants whodo not have a spouse, minor child ordisabled child to whom they can makean exempt transfer of their non-IRA assets, or a spouse, minor child, disabledchild, caretaker child or a sibling with anequity interest to whom they can makean exemp

employment, small business, landlord/ tenant and more. Chaired by WCBA's Vice-President, Dolores Gebhardt, Esq. and Rebecka Levitt, J.D., a recent grad-uate of Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Vice President of Student Bar Association, the Commu-nity Recovery Task Force is seeking vol-unteers to answer questions, negotiate