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E-Newsletter of June 7, 2011 | Vol. 4, No. 22



On behalf of all members of the Elder Law Section, many thanks to the outgoing leaders of the Section for their time and talents expended for the benefit of all.  We send our sincere appreciation to Jennifer L. Wright, Chair; Suzy Scheller, Vice-Chair; Janet Totter, Treasurer and Laura Zdychnec, Secretary.  You successfully and faithfully furthered Section goals. Kudos! 


It has been nearly a full year since I took up the duties of the Chair of the Elder Law section.  It has been a very busy year, with many successes and challenges.  Looking back over the Governing Council minutes of the last year is instructive.  Here are some of the highlights. 

June:  We started our fiscal year with $11,000 set aside as invested funds.  Thanks to the efforts of Vicki McIntyre and Nick Halbur, we were able to obtain a copy of all 1600 pages of the Minnesota Medicaid State Plan and to make it available on-line, through PracticeLaw and the section website. 

August:  We decided to maintain our section dues at $15 for the year to come, representing a $21 cost to our section members, including the $6 MSBA surcharge.  We decided that we should revise our survey of members and send it out again (see my note, below).  We decided reluctantly to disband the Greater Minnesota committee of the section due to lack of participation.  We thanked Bonita Kallestad for her valiant efforts chairing that committee.  Members of the Vulnerable Adult committee helped with the completion and distribution of a new brochure on vulnerable adult abuse and maltreatment.  Thanks to Suzy Scheller and Ken LaBore for chairing that committee. 

October:  The Council voted to approve the establishment of the Social Security/ Disability Law committee of the MSBA, with the idea of moving toward section status.  We created the Medicaid State Plan committee as a standing committee of the section.  The Elder Law Institute was a great success, thanks to the hard work and creative efforts of Lynne O’Connell of Minnesota CLE and the Elder Law Institute Planning committee members.  The Law Student committee presented an excellent break-out session on ethics issues in elder law at the Institute.  Thanks to Laura Orr and John Kantke for co-chairing that committee.  The Council moved its regular meeting place to Estate and Elder Law Services’ (formerly MAO Legal Services) new location at 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106.  We thanked Paulette Joyer and Monica Lewis for their continuing hospitality to the Council. 

December:  The Medicaid State Plan committee got off the ground.  The committee’s mission is to provide a system to track and comment on proposed Medicaid State Plan amendments and to develop a more collaborative relationship with the state, with the chairs serving as liaisons from the section to DHS.  We thanked Tom O’Connell and Stuart Deuring for volunteering to chair the new committee. 

February:  The Council discussed the question of whether to establish term limits for Council members.  The recommendation of the Bylaws committee was against imposing term limits.  The consensus of the committee was that the section is well-served by both the institutional memory of long-term council members and the energy of new members.  The committee members saw no need for term limits, and the committee’s recommendation was adopted by the Council.  Thanks to Dick Hawke and Tom O’Connell for chairing the Bylaws committee.  We also voted to invite section members to approve a statement indicating the section’s support for the work of Estate and Elder Law Services. 

April:  The Pro Bono committee reported that, once again, National Healthcare Decisions Day was a great success, due to the efforts of the committee and many members of the section, among others.  We thanked Kristine Mullman and her committee for their hard work.  The Law Student committee reported on its service day, spent helping Estate and Elder Law Services organize their files after the big move.  The Medicaid State Plan committee reported that they had spoken with Lisa Knazen at DHS and had determined what needed to be done to update our copy of the Plan.  The Council approved funds to obtain the update.  Most importantly, we voted on a slate of officers and Council members for the upcoming year.  We are grateful to Suzy Scheller, Laura Zdychnec, Joel Button, and John Kantke for agreeing to serve as chair, vice-chair, secretary, and treasurer, respectively.  We are pleased to have two new Council members on the slate, Terrie Lewis and David Rephan.  Last, but certainly not least, we are delighted to have a full slate of law student members to propose to the section at the annual meeting in June: Courtney Allensworth and Brenna Galvin from William Mitchell; Annalee Heath Leach from Hamline; and Megan Stowers from St. Thomas.  Thanks to Dan Steinheigen for his excellent work as chair of the Nominations committee, and welcome to all incoming Governing Council members! 

I have enjoyed leading the section this year.  I have appreciated the chance to work with Suzy Scheller, our vice-chair, with Laura Zdychnec, our faithful secretary, and with Janet Totter, our careful treasurer.  We will all miss Janet as she seeks new adventures in Texas.  I have also enjoyed the chance to share my thoughts with you each month in the section eNewsletter.  No review of the year would be complete without a big shout out to Marjorie Austin, our wonderful newsletter editor, and Laurie Hanson, our hardworking Communications committee chair.  The eNewsletter remains one of the most valuable services we offer our members, and it is greatly appreciated by all. 

The one task remaining that I regret not having accomplished sooner is re-surveying the section membership, as the Council decided in August we should.  Getting feedback to revise the survey was very slow, and I confess that this task just fell off my to-do list.  I have met with Suzy Scheller, our incoming chair, to talk about the Council’s work in the upcoming year, and I hope and intend to work with her to make sure that the survey is sent out very soon.  Better late than never!

With that one stain on my record, I hope that I have served the section membership satisfactorily this year.  It has been both an honor and a pleasure. 

Jennifer Wright, Esq.
Chair, Elder Law Section


Item of Interest



Our next planning meeting is June 22!  The 2011 ELI Planning Committee will meet over the summer to develop the program for this year's ELI, which will be held on October 6-7, 2011.  The ELI Planning Committee will meet at the Minnesota CLE offices in St. Paul from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on June 22, 2011.  A box lunch will be served at all meetings.   

Anyone interested in serving on the ELI Planning Committee, submitting ELI program ideas, or speaking at the ELI, may contact the 2011 Elder Law Institute Chair, Suzy Scheller, at

Link of the Week


Gay and Lesbian Elders: Estate Planning and End-of-Life Decision Making

Nancy J. Knauer published a journal article entitled, "Gay and Lesbian Elders: Estate Planning and End-of-Life Decision Making."  The article discusses challenges for gay and lesbian couples for estate planning.  Specifically, the article focuses on issues related to chosen family, financial insecurity, and anti-gay bias in the context of estate planning.
The article is available at:

Submitted by Ruthanne Vos
Student, William Mitchell College of Law

Elder Law News


Report Finds Inequities in Payments for Medicare | NY Times

Dr. Jack Kevorkian Dies at 83; A Doctor Who Helped End Lives | NY Times

Duluth nursing home cited by state inspectors | Duluth News Tribune

Dayton inks nursing home bill | Daily Globe

A father, husband slowly stolen | Oakdale Lake Elmo Review

CenterPoint takes heat over pricing | Star Tribune

Book Notes: Sex and the senior citizen | Crookston Times

Elder Law Cases


The Minnesota Court of Appeals released the following unpublished opinion on May 31, 2011.


In the Matter of: The Pamela Andreas Stisser Grantor Trust Under Second Amendment and Restatement of Trust Agreement dated June 6, 2001.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part Stoneburner, Judge
Concurring in part, dissenting in part, Schellhas, Judge

Appellant personal representative of decedent Pamela Andreas Stisser's estate challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing his petition for an order requiring respondent trustee of decedent's trust to pay (1) certain debts of decedent; (2) compensation for his services as personal representative; and (3) certain expenses of the administration of decedent's estate. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The opinion is available at:

Unpublished opinions may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. Section 480A.08, Subd. 3 (2009).

Elder Law Statutes, Regulations, and Bulletins


The following was published in the State Register on May 23, 2011 relating to the Minnesota Board on Aging.  The comment period for the proposed State Plan on Aging Amendment ends on June 30, 2011.  Note that the proposed Amendment was not published in the State Register but is available by contacting the Minnesota Board on Aging.  The Board on Aging State Plan webpage is available at:

Department of Human Services (DHS)
Minnesota Board on Aging | Aging and Adult Services Division
Notice of Request for Comment on Proposed FFY 2012 Amendment to Minnesota State Plan on Aging

The Minnesota Board on Aging requests comments on a proposed amendment to the State Plan on Aging (for federal fiscal year 2012).

The Minnesota Board on Aging has the option to submit an amendment to its current State Plan on Aging (FFY 2009-2012) to the U.S.

Administration on Aging (AoA) on July 1, 2011. The State Plan addresses the ways in which the Minnesota Board on Aging is helping to prepare the state for the aging of the population. The state plan also articulates the role of Older Americans Act core and discretionary programs in the state’s long-term care system. Outlined below are the five Goals for the State Plan on Aging.

Goal 1: Educate and empower older adults and their families to make informed decisions about, and be able to easily access, home and community-based services.

Goal 2: Enable older adults and family caregivers to sustain their community living by accessing flexible, affordable and effective services.

Goal 3: Educate and empower older adults and family caregivers to manage their own health risks.

Goal 4: Ensure the rights of older adults and prevent their abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Goal 5: Partner with communities to prepare for the aging of the population.
The proposed amendment provides updates to the current State Plan on Aging and highlights strategies to provide consumers with more choice and control over the services that they receive.

The thirty-day public comment period begins June 1, 2011 and ends at 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2011. The full text of the proposed State Plan on Aging Amendment is available by contacting Jean Wood, Executive Director, Minnesota Board on Aging, Aging and Adult Services Division, P.O. Box 64976, St. Paul, MN 55164-0976.

Submitted by Peter M. Hendricks, Esq.

Upcoming Events and CLE Programs


Minnesota CLE
Probate & Trust Law Section Conference
June 6 & 7, 2011
More information

Ramsey County Bar Association
Dealing with Elderly Parents
June 8, 2011
More information

Minnesota State Bar Association
2011 Elder Law Institute
SAVE THE DATE: October 6 and 7, 2011
The Elder Law Institute (ELI), a collaboration between the MSBA’s Elder Law Section and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, is an annual conference designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for attorneys and others interested in the practice of Elder Law.  The ELI offers a wide range of educational programming, ranging from discussions of nursing home and Medical Assistance issues to legislative updates and policy analysis.  ELI Attendees receive from nine to eleven Continuing Legal Education credits, depending upon the length of the conference. Stay tuned for more information and online registration.

Elder Law Section Activities


MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, 2011.  Topics for the meeting may be submitted to MA Committee Chair, Cathryn Reher, at, or faxed to 952-542-9201. For directions, or to attend by phone, please contact Tracie Fenske with Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. at 952-929-0622.  Please be reminded that the meeting location is: Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418. There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.

GOVERNING COUNCIL:  The next meeting of the Elder Law Section Governing Council will be 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17, 2011, in conjunction with the Elder Law Section Annual Meeting.  The meeting will be held at Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418.  There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.  For further information, please contact Jennifer Wright, Chair, at

ELDER LAW SECTION ANNUAL MEETING:  The 2011 Annual Meeting of the Elder Law Section will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17, 2011, at the offices of Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), located at Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis.  Please note the meeting date and location changes.  There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.  For further information, please contact Jennifer L. Wright at


Elder Law Website


Here’s what you can find on the Elder Law Section website: Links to the DHS Health Care Programs Manual, the DHS Bulletin on treatment of uncompensated transfers, the Minnesota Bankers Association Compliance Bulletin on Powers of Attorney, legislative summary; Practice Links to organizations such as NAELA, ABA Commission on Law and Aging, Links to Federal and State Government Agencies, Statutes, and Regulations; Meeting Notices, Listings of Officers and Council Members, Section Bylaws, and more.

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