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The Essentials of Later-Life Legal Planning

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: March 29, 2018
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  • When to claim Social Security – later is often, but not always better
  • The ins and outs of spousal, surviving spouse and ex-spouse Social Security benefits
  • How Medicare operates, and who needs supplemental health care insurance
  • Making health care decisions for a mentally incapacitated person
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: March 29, 2018


As individuals reach their 60’s, they must decide when to claim their Social Security retirement benefits (as early as age 62 or as late as age 70), keeping in mind that there are financial implications both for the claimant and for their spouse and other dependents. Faculty will address the considerations that go into that decision.

Individuals are eligible for Medicare at age 65. Applying for Medicare is easy, but what kind of Medicare to claim (traditional or a Medicare Advantage) and what other health care insurance does an individual need, are important questions. Our panel will explore eligibility for Medicare, the Medicare options, how Medicare functions, and the need for supplemental health care insurance even for older persons who are enrolled in Medicare.

All older individuals also need to consider the possible loss of mental capacity and think about who will make decisions regarding their health care. Speakers will give advice on what kind of documents should be created for an aging client and what those documents should contain.

This program was recorded on March 29th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Marielle F. Hazen

Founder & Attorney
Hazen Law Group

Marielle F. Hazen, Attorney at Law, is the founder of Hazen Law Group, a firm dedicated to the practice of elder and special needs planning law, estate planning, tax planning and estate administration. Ms. Hazen is committed to protecting the rights and serving the legal needs of older adults, individuals with disabilities and their families. She has earned the distinction of being a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She is a Past President and one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorneys (PAELA), and is a Past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Ms. Hazen is a Past President and member of the Board of Directors of the Special Needs Alliance, a national nonprofit organization of attorneys dedicated to Disability and Public Benefits Law, and she participates on the Grassroots Advocacy Committee of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). She is actively involved in the legislative advocacy activities of PAELA, the PBA Elder Law Section, the Special Needs Alliance and NAELA, and through these organizations advocates on issues impacting her clients.

Ms. Hazen serves on the Elder Abuse Task Force for Dauphin County. At the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Ms. Hazen has taught the Apprise Coordinators regarding long term care legal issues and was appointed as a Delegate to Pennsylvania’s Quality at End of Life Symposium. She frequently serves on the faculty for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, providing continuing legal education for attorneys. She has also been a guest lecturer for the Temple University graduate program in Social Work, the PennState graduate program in Public Health Administration, the PennState Dickinson School of Law, the Weidner University School of Law, the Harrisburg Area Community College and ALI/ABA. Ms. Hazen is also frequently invited to give presentations to community groups about estate planning and elder law topics.

In 2010, Ms Hazen was presented with the Excellence in Elder Law Award from the Elder Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. This award was given in recognition and appreciation of her superior professional efforts in the field of elder law, her significant contributions to the legal profession and her noteworthy service to the elderly. In 2009, Ms. Hazen received an Outstanding Achievement award from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Ms. Hazen has been selected by her peers as a “Super Lawyer” in the field of Elder Law and as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Pennsylvania, as featured in Law and Politics Magazine. She has also been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America, and Hazen Law Group has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top law firms in the country. Ms. Hazen has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest lawyer rating of AV?. An AV Rating is given to those attorneys who have reached the highest standards of professional excellence.

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Shirley B. Whitenack

Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP

Shirley B. Whitenack is a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP with offices in Florham Park, Paramus, and Sparta, New Jersey and co-chairs the firm’s Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group and the Estates and Trusts Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion of her practice to elder and special needs law, estate planning and administration and trust and estate litigation. She is on the State of New Jersey roster of approved mediators.

Ms. Whitenack is a Past President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a NAELA Fellow, and a member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP), an invitation-only group of elder and special needs planning practitioners and has served as an adjunct professor of law in the J.D. and LL.M. in Elder Law Programs at Stetson University College of Law.

Ms. Whitenack is a member of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), an invitation-only nationwide alliance of special needs planning attorneys, the American Bar Association (Litigation Section and Real Property, Trusts & Estates Section), the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Advisory Committee on Continuing Legal Education and past chair of the NJSBA’s Elder & Disability Law Section. Ms. Whitenack is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Program Development Committee, the Morris County Bar Association’s (MCBA) Estates & Trusts Committee and is past chair of MCBA’s Elder Law Committee. Ms. Whitenack is also a Trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Ms. Whitenack publishes and lectures extensively on topics related to guardianship, elder and special needs law, estate and trust litigation and probate mediation. She is quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Money and Consumer Reports.

Ms. Whitenack received the NJSBA’s Legislative Service Award in September 2003 for her contribution in drafting and promoting revisions to New Jersey’s guardianship statutes and the NJSBA’s Amicus Curiae Award in 2004. Ms. Whitenack received GANJI’s Recognition Award in October 2003 for her contribution in advocating for the civil rights of incapacitated individuals. She received NJICLE’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and the Distinguished Service Award from the NJSBA’s Elder & Disability Section in 2009. Ms. Whitenack received the Community Health Law Project’s Ann Klein Advocate Award in 2011 for improving the lives of people with disabilities and was recognized in 2011 by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey in a Joint Resolution for service to those with special needs. In 2012, she was honored by the NJSBA for her long service as a trustee of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and received the NJSBA’s Distinguished Legislative Service Award for her contribution to New Jersey’s enactment of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. Ms. Whitenack received the Morris County Bar Association’s Civil Practice Award in 2015 and is the recipient of the 2017 Alfred C. Clapp Award for Excellence in Legal Education by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

She is A-V rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized in New Jersey Monthly magazine as one of New Jersey’s top 100 Super Lawyers, one of New Jersey’s top 50 women Super Lawyers as well as a top Elder Law “Super Lawyer.” * She also has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America? ** for Trusts and Estates. Ms. Whitenack is admitted to practice in New Jersey, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her undergraduate degree cum laude from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and attended Seton Hall University School of Law, where she held the position of Notes and Comments Editor of the Seton Hall Law Review.

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