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News & Events > January – June 2012 Archives

Diana Fredericks served as chair of the Scholarship Committee for the Hunterdon County Bar Association, and presented a scholarship on May 31 to a Hunterdon Central High School senior who excelled at Mock Trial.

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John Manfreda recently moderated a discussion concerning the issues involved with the decanting of Irrevocable Trusts at a dinner meeting of the Greater Middlesex/Somerset Estate Planning Council. Decanting is the process by which the revised estate plan goals and objectives of one who creates an irrevocable trust can be achieved long after the trust has been created. Mr. Manfreda has served as President of the Greater Middlesex/Somerset Estate Planning Council for 8 years running and has served as a Trustee for the past 25 years. The Council is an accredited member of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, and serves Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset, Middlesex and Union Counties. Members include esteemed estate planning lawyers, accountants, bank trust officers, financial advisors and other professionals who practice in the areas of estate planning and estate administration.

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Deborah Rosenthal represented the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and a detective in that office in a suit in Federal Court regarding a claim that they improperly arrested the Plaintiff as part of an undercover drug investigation. The Plaintiff claimed that the detective provided false testimony before the grand jury in connection with her indictment. Ms. Rosenthal successfully obtained a dismissal of all claims on behalf of her clients. The 3rd circuit recently upheld this dismissal, in light of a recently decided case by the United States Supreme Court, Rehberg v. Paulk, which determined that grand jury witnesses are entitled to absolute immunity in regard to claims pertaining to their grand jury testimony.

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Diana Fredericks and Lori MacWilliam attended the Women's Leadership Summit 2012 presented by the Women's Business Forum of Hunterdon County on May 22. The Summit focused on innovation, inspiration, leadership, and business success. Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach was a featured speaker.

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Deborah Rosenthal conducted a seminar on municipal ethics law on May 16 for municipal employees and officials from various towns in NJ at the Lebanon Borough municipal building. The seminar focused on municipal employees' and officials' legal obligations concerning conflicts of interests, acceptance of gifts, attendance at events, and the legal ramifications for violating various ethics laws.

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Judith Kopen will speak at the Municipal Clerks Association of New Jersey "Spring Mini Conference" at the Hampton Fire House on May 22. Ms. Kopen will address the Open Public Records Act's impact on municipal government, including privacy issues, public records and litigation discovery, and recent developments/case law updates.

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Mark Chazin conducted a seminar entitled "Planning for Children with Disabilities" at the Family Forum of the ARC of Hunterdon County on May 10. During the presentation, Mr. Chazin addressed a question about which financial and medical benefits are based on financial resources or income, and which are not.

He explained that Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Medicare are not based on financial resources or income. SSDI is available to minor and adult children who became disabled before age 22 and who have a parent who is on Social Security (1/2 of benefit) or died (3/4 of benefit). Medicare benefits are available to SSDI recipients (which may include disabled children of deceased or retired insured workers) who qualify for Medicare after receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months.

Mr. Chazin also explained that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are based on financial resources and income. SSI is available to disabled persons whose disability prevents gainful employment. The person can have no more than $2,000 in countable resources and less than roughly $720 monthly NJ income in 2012 (varies by state and changes over time). He explained that the calculation is not simple because unearned income and earned income are treated differently. Prior to age 18, the family resources and income are used in the calculation. After age 18, the individual's resources and income are used.

Medical and care benefits via Medicaid are also available to persons who meet the SSI income and resource tests, Mr. Chazin said. Converting from SSI to SSDI (after death of parent and thus receiving more income in excess of the SSI threshold) should not disqualify a person from Medicaid. However, this is complicated and requires careful legal guidance for an individual who loses SSI due to becoming eligible for SSDI, because it is easy to inadvertently lose Medicaid when not aware of the requirements.

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John Manfreda recently made a presentation on Estate Planning, Estate & Trust Administration, Asset Protection Planning, and related topics to a group at St. Martin's Church in Bridgewater, NJ. About 25 people attended the program, which ran for more than two hours and included a lengthy Q&A session. A portion of the program was devoted to charitable giving and estate planning for "blended families" produced by second marriages, topics which are frequently dealt with by Mr. Manfreda in his law practice. Mr. Manfreda is a frequent lecturer on estate planning-related topics and is generally available to present to groups in the Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren, Morris, and Middlesex County areas.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer is pleased to support the Rotary Club of Branchburg's "Best of Branchburg" awards reception/fundraiser, to be held on May 12 at Raritan Valley Community College. The event will recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that work with today's youth in the areas of drug awareness, drug treatment, peer pressure, and bullying. Gebhardt & Kiefer attorney Leslie Parikh is a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg.

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William Goodwin continues in his role as Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Hunterdon Helpline, a non-profit organization. Mr. Goodwin has been a Board Member since January 2010. Hunterdon Helpline serves the community 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with programs such as Information & Referral, Suicide Prevention, Reassurance Calls, Friendly Visiting, Emergency Shelter and Food, LINK Communication, Compassionate Listening, and Literacy and Translation Services.

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Deborah Rosenthal conducted a seminar on April 24 for approximately 50 employees from various Somerset and Mercer County towns. Topics included harassment, discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment policies, the state and federal Family Leave Acts, and municipal ethics law. Ms. Rosenthal also discussed recent case law and updates, and provided legal guidance on how to deal with these rapidly evolving employment issues.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer was pleased to support the March of Dimes' 2012 Raritan Valley March for Babies on April 29. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

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Mark Chazin, Esq. will speak at the May 10, 2012, Family Forum of the ARC of Hunterdon County aboutPlanning for Children with Disabilities. The meeting will be held in the ARC office at Beaver Brook, 1465 Route 31 South, 5th Floor, Clinton, NJ. Mr. Chazin is an experienced attorney in Estate and Tax Planning, Medicaid Planning, and Special Needs Trusts, which are used to preserve eligibility for some financially based government benefits. He will discuss Special Needs Trusts, Guardianships and other Estate Planning topics of interest to parents of children with disabilities.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer was pleased to be a contributing sponsor of the Hunterdon Helpline "Chef's Spotlight Dinner" on April 23. Hunterdon Helpline serves the community 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with programs such as Information & Referral, Suicide Prevention, Reassurance Calls, Friendly Visiting, Emergency Shelter and Food, LINK Communication, Compassionate Listening, and Literacy and Translation Services.

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John Manfreda recently made a series of guest appearances on the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce internet radio program called "Its The Law". The topic was "The Life Cycle of A Closely Held Business". As an attorney whose practice is concentrated in estate and business planning, Mr. Manfreda discussed issues related to the purchase/sale/formation of a new business, including the purchase and sale of existing businesses as well as new business start-ups. Over a span of four consecutive weekly one hour broadcasts, Mr. Manfreda gave a primer on seminal topics such as the choice of business entity (use of a Corporation vs. an LLC), site issues (whether to form the company in NJ, Delaware or another state), preparation of Corporate Shareholder and LLC Operating Agreements (including buy-sell and business succession planning issues), negotiation of business lease agreements, preparation of Annual Director and Shareholder Minutes, and related business topics. Mr. Manfreda also discussed the purchase and sale of commercial real estate and issues relating to whether the property should be owned by the business or held in a separate entity for asset protection and tax planning purposes. In addition, he addressed certain potential litigation issues that can affect a new business, as well as the need to have an employment law attorney prepare an appropriate Employee Handbook for the new company. Employment Contracts, tax and related life insurance issues were also discussed.

In addition to frequent guest appearances on "Its The Law" from 4pm to 5pm on Fridays, Mr. Manfreda also co-hosts an internet radio sports show from 5pm to 6pm called "SportsTalk". The internet radio site for the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce can be found at www.hunterdonchamberradio.com. Listeners can talk to Mr. Manfreda and ask questions on or off the air by dialing 908-237-0410. A segment of almost every SportsTalk broadcast is devoted to the "business of sports", which often results in a spirited discussion of issues relating to businesses which service the athletic industry. Broadcasts are archived and can be accessed on the Chamber website for those who are unable to tune in when the shows are broadcast live.

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Diana Fredericks helped to plan a Professional Development and Leadership Speakers Series Evening on Feb. 29 featuring Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns. Mr. Kearns spoke about his career and his experiences along the path to success. The program was hosted by the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals of Hunterdon County committee, of which Ms. Fredericks is a member. See photo in Chamber newsletter.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer was pleased to support the Hunterdon Hills Lions Club as a sponsor of the Annual Dinner Dance ad journal. The Annual Dinner Dance was held at Beaver Brook Country Club on April 9, 2012.

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Deborah Rosenthal presented a seminar on March 22 to more than 100 Neptune Township employees on preventing workplace harassment and discrimination. She also presented a seminar on March 23 to municipal tax collectors and treasurers on municipal ethics laws.

Ms. Rosenthal regularly speaks on these and other topics, is available for seminars by appointment.

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John Manfreda presented a seminar entitled "The Legal and Tax Aspects of Estate Planning" at the North County Branch of the Hunterdon County Public Library on March 8. The program ran for two hours, and was attended by approximately 50 people. During the presentation, Mr. Manfreda covered the basics of estate and gift tax planning, as well as select elder law topics. He also discussed certain general principles of business planning, life insurance planning, divorce issues as they affect estate planning, and special estate planning issues affecting "blended" families resulting from second marriages.

Mr. Manfreda frequently lectures on these topics and is available for both public and private speaking engagements throughout Central New Jersey.

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Diana Fredericks was featured in the March newsletter of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Fredericks is an active member of the Chamber's Young Professionals Committee, and she talks about her involvement on the committee in this article. Read article.

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Deborah Rosenthal served as a volunteer coordinator for the 15th Annual Taste of Branchburg fundraiser on March 25, which raised over $11,000 for the Branchburg Education Foundation. The Branchburg Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises money and awards grants to the Branchburg school system for educational programs. Ms. Rosenthal also serves as a trustee and secretary for the organization.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer was pleased to sponsor Safe in Hunterdon's "Evening of Awareness: A Helping Hands Healing Hearts Event" on March 23 at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club. The goal of the evening was to increase awareness of domestic and sexual abuse in Hunterdon County and to raise funds to provide free, confidential services to victims.

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Gebhardt & Kiefer was pleased to support the athletes of the North Hunterdon High School Baseball Team with a contribution to the North Baseball Booster Club in March.