Remembering 9/11

Many of you know I am a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Barbeque Judge. Over the years, I have judged numerous competitions up and down the East Coast. A number of years ago I joined the Barbeque Brethren, a group of competition barbeque teams on Long Island. Pre-covid, we hosted a BBQ for 1500 veterans and family members at the VA on Long Island for more than ten years. In 2016, the Barbeque Brethren learned nothing was being done to commemorate 9/11 for the 2,000 Navy, Coast Guard and Marines based at the Brooklyn cruise port.

(C) Stephen J. Silverberg 2016

A few strings were pulled by the Barbeque Brethren, who had been doing BBQ lunches for 1500 veterans and family members at the VA on Long Island for more than ten years.

The only ones permitted to attend this event was the crew, some of the VA home residents and members of the Barbeque Brethren. It was not open to the public.

While I was there, cooking and serving along with my fellow Barbeque Brethren, I saw the Coast Guard cruiser coming into port in front of the Freedom Tower and took this photo. Notice the ship’s number: 911.

The Coast Cruiser made its way past the Freedom Tower. It was a remarkable sight.

We shall never forget all those who were killed on the day of the attacks and who have died as a result of their efforts afterwards.

Stephen J. Silverberg Named to 2024 Edition of Best Lawyers, Scott B. Silverberg Named to 2024 Ones to Watch

Attorney Stephen J Silverberg

For the tenth consecutive year, Stephen J. Silverberg, based on extensive peer review, is listed in the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice area of Elder Law.

Scott Silverberg

For the first time, Scott B. Silverberg is listed in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America: Ones To Watch® in the practice areas of Elder Law and Trusts and Estates.

For the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, a review of over 13.7 million votes resulted in over 76,000 leading lawyers being honored in the milestone 30th edition.

 For the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America, over 2.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in over 25,000 lawyers being honored in the new edition.

Stephen holds the AV® Preeminent (5 out of 5) rating, the highest possible designation from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been on the Super Lawyer New York metro list since 2007.

He is designated a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, as authorized by the American Bar Association. Applicants must pass a stringent written examination and substantial independent peer review to receive this designation. Although the test started in 1993, fewer than 520 attorneys have earned the CELA designation. Silverberg is a graduate of Hartwick College and Brooklyn Law School. He has been a New York and Florida Bars member for over forty years.

Stephen J. Silverberg is a nationally recognized leader in estate and tax planning, estate and trust administration, asset preservation planning, and Elder Law. He is the past President of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). In 2003 he was named a NAELA Fellow, the highest honor given by NAELA to “attorneys… 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.” Silverberg is also a former President and is a member of the New York State chapter of NAELA. 

Scott B. Silverberg is President of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and a member of the National Board of Directors of NAELA. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Elder Law Practicum of national NAELA. As a New York State Bar Association member, Scott serves as Vice-Chair of the Practice Management Committee of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section Executive Committee. Previously, he chaired the Technology Committee.

In 2022, Scott became a member of The Estate Planning Council of Nassau County, a member chapter of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC).

Scott earned an LLM (Master of Laws) in Elder Law from the Stetson University School of Law, a leader in special needs planning. He is the only attorney in New York who holds this degree. He graduated from Fordham Law School (JD, 2013) and holds a Bachelor of Science from the internationally renowned Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

The Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg, PC, represents clients in estate planning, tax, estate administration, asset preservation planning, Elder Law, and related issues. The Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg, PC is at 185 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577, 516-307-1236 and

What is the Medicare Observation Trap?

The Medicare Observation Trap happens when patients and families are least expecting it. The patient has a serious health emergency and goes by ambulance to a local hospital. Family members are worried, and the patient might not know what is happening around them. The patient goes to the Emergency Room, where they undergo a thorough evaluation, and doctors decide whether the patient needs to remain in the hospital or can go home.

If you decide to remain in the hospital, the Medicare Observation Trap can limit the care you receive when discharged.

Most Medicare patients rely on Medicare for their hospital coverage and, when needed, up to 100 days in a rehabilitation facility. But what often happens when a patient remains in the hospital for observation without being admitted? The patient might be ineligible for Medicare coverage of rehab.

Hospitals often register elderly patients as under observation rather than admitting them as patients. Observation can last days or weeks – with the same level of treatment as an admitted patient.

Why would the hospital do this? Hospital billing departments often make this decision, not the doctor. The billing department is concerned about getting paid. Medicare reimbursement might not happen if a Medicare auditor overturns the physician’s decision to admit the patient. The observation payment rate is lower and is less likely to be denied—the hospital bills Medicare Part B rather than Part A.

Part A of Medicare coverage only begins upon admission to the hospital. Patients “under observation” are technically outpatients, no matter how long they are in the hospital.

This practice impacts care after hospitalization when the trap is sprung. If you are in the hospital on “observation” status, no matter how long you are in the hospital, Medicare will not pay for skilled nursing care in a rehab center. The patient or the family may realize none of this – until a massive bill arrives.

How can you protect yourself or a loved one from the Medicare Observation Trap?

Be clear with your doctors as to the patient’s status. Even if they say they are waiting for a bed to become available, insist that the patient be formally admitted and firmly ask for a document showing the patient’s admission.

If the patient needs to go to a skilled nursing center immediately after hospitalization, make sure you bring the admission document with you. Let the nursing center’s office keep a copy of the document – you must keep the original.

It is an important detail you must remember during a medical emergency,  as it could protect the patient or their family from a financial emergency.

#elderlawyerny #estateplanninglawyer #taxattorney #retirementplanning #specialneeds #inheritance #estate planning #estateplanningattorney #legalneeds #newyorklawyer #longislandelderlaw

What’s On My Grill This Summer?

Sky-high prices for beef make this the year to expand your grilling horizons, with less expensive cuts of meat, new takes on chicken and adding more than salmon to your fish repertoire. Here are a few ideas to try out:

Try beef brisket instead of more traditional sirloin steaks. Prepare the brisket for low and slow cooking with a marinade – the recipe below is a traditional BBQ marinade – or swap out cayenne pepper for cardamom and turmeric for a completely different take on brisket.

  • ½ cup Kosher Salt
  • 3 TBS Black Pepper
  • 2 TSP Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 TSP Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • One Clove Garlic, finely chopped.

Start early in the day, as brisket can take five to eight hours to reach an internal temperature of  185-190 degrees.

Some folks like to sear their brisket, 20 minutes per side on a hot grill – 400 degrees –  then switch to low and slow at 250 degrees. Check the brisket temperature every hour.

What other fish can you grill besides salmon?

Any fish with thick flesh works great on the grill as long as you prepare the grill and the fish right.

What kind of fish? Tuna, red snapper, sea bass, grouper and halibut are all good for grilling.

Prep the grill by using a grill marinade brush dipped in vegetable oil and rub it over the grates. Keep going until the grate is glossy and black, seasoned like a cast-iron skillet.

Coat both sides of the fish with a layer of vegetable oil with a brush.

Place the fish on the grill, diagonal to the grate slats, skin side down. Lower the heat to medium.

Cook for 2 – 4 minutes or until the skin is crispy.  Use two spatulas for more control, and if it doesn’t come off cleanly, keep cooking it another minute until it does.  Flip the fish and keep cooking for another 3 – 7 minutes.

If you’re cooking salmon, the center should be opaque and reach 125 degrees. Any fish with white flesh should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Grill baskets are a great idea for fish, especially if you’re grilling a whole fish. Be sure to use vegetable oil on the basket so the fish doesn’t stick to the basket.

What’s this I’m hearing about braided salmon bread that looks like challah?

I haven’t tried this, but it’s on my list for this summer. You’ll need a big fillet, skinned. Brine it, then cut into four equal long strips. Braid it as if you were making challah bread, then season with a salt-free rub (the brine will provide the salty flavor). Use a simple glaze, citrus and maple syrup will do. Cook it low and slow on the grill – depending on the density of your challah, about an hour or until the internal temperature is 125-130 degrees.

When Decoration Day Became Memorial Day, and Why It Still Matters  

Once the calendar has turned to May, the parade notices, Jones Beach Air Show announcements and retail sales ads begin, ramping up until the last weekend of the month, which you likely think of as Memorial Day.

For me, this last weekend will always be Decoration Day. My own Boomer memories include family trips to the Catskills, and I’m sure you have your own summer memories of parades, barbeques, and picnics. But Decoration Day has a history deserving of time and contemplation.

Decoration Day began in 1868 when General John A. Logan called for a holiday to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War. On the first Decoration Day, 5,000 people helped decorate the graves of the over 20,000 soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery – both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Similar ceremonies inspired the event in cities around the country. Soldiers would decorate the graves of fallen comrades with flags, wreaths, and flowers. By 1890, every Union state had a Decoration Day.

After World War I, the purpose of Decoration Day expanded to honor all soldiers who died in all American wars. It was considered a day of civic duty to honor the dead and remember why they gave their lives.

In 1971, Congress declared a national holiday on the last Monday in May.

Some civic groups and veterans’ groups continue to honor our servicemen and women by taking the time to attend ceremonies and decorate the graves of soldiers. Here on Long Island, we have two large military cemeteries – Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale and Calverton National Cemetery.

As the years and wars have come and gone, Decoration Day became Memorial Day. Unlike Veterans Day, which honors all who serve, the traditions of Memorial Day honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation.

I post about this every May because I believe it is important to honor those Americans who gave their lives in service to our great nation. Remembering and honoring their lives and the sacrifices they made should be part of all of our Memorial Day activities.

Mother’s Day and a Remembrance  

This Mother’s Day, I want to share something personal about my family’s history. My parents, Helene and Simon Silverberg, were both Holocaust survivors. Residents of Poland, they met in a displacement camp in Regensburg, in Western Germany. My mother’s mother and her sister were murdered in the Treblinka concentration camp and most, if not all, members of my father’s family were also killed.

In five years, there will be no more living witnesses to the Holocaust, one of the darkest times of humanity. This makes remembering what happened to 6 million Jews in Europe increasingly important in a time when many Americans seem to have forgotten why this particular brand of hatred is so evil.

My parents came to the United States on January 20, 1949, the day Harry S. Truman became President.  They built a life together in Nassau County and never spoke to us about their experience, or how they survived.

Only after my mother died and the family was cleaning out her home did we find scrapbooks filled with thank you cards from elementary school children. It turned out she was going to schools and teaching the children about the Holocaust.

My father never spoke about his experience to anyone.

In May 1996, my mother made an hour and forty-five minute video about her experience and her history with the Shoah Foundation, the Institute for Visual History and Education, a nonprofit dedicated to making audiovisual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, founded by Steven Spielberg.

We recently came across the video, and our family has watched it with great respect and admiration for my mother. At a very young age, she was separated from her family during wartime and forced to stay in one of the infamous ghettos in Poland. They killed 95% of the Jews in the city, but because she was able to work in a factory, she was not killed.

She never spoke to us about her experience, but she clearly recognized the importance of her role as a survivor and teaching others so this horror would never be repeated.

On this Mother’s Day, when there are fewer and fewer survivors and antisemitism is increasing, I think it becomes more important to weave my family’s history into the secular fabric of our celebrated holidays.

The Anti-Defamation League reports a staggering 36% increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2022. This is the third time in five years the tally has been the highest number ever recorded since the ADL began collecting data in 1979.

But we don’t need to look at the data, only the headlines, to confirm the rise in hatred.

For those of you who think we are “safe” because we live in New York, the ADL reports that New York State has the highest number of reported incidents, followed by California, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas. These five states add up to 54% of the total incidents.   

Much of this is a direct result of activity by organized white supremacist groups, as witnessed by the latest mass shooting in Texas. Another is a national culture that only a few years ago normalized both antisemitism and racism.

In honor of my mother, with hope for a better future for my children and grandchildren, I have a personal responsibility to remind us why we can never forget what happened in the past.

What to Do When Mom and Dad Return from Florida

The last few years have seen more elderly parents returning to New York from Florida and other retirement locations. It happens all too often after the adult children have made a few trips to care for their parents after a health issue. The distance that wasn’t a big deal years ago has become a problem, and it’s time for the parents (or parent) to be closer to their children.

We see a “reverse migration” in our Elder Law practice. People who moved to Florida years ago now find they no longer have a support system. This is especially true for older seniors. When a spouse dies, the surviving spouse finds it difficult to manage independently. Often many of their friends have passed away, so they feel isolated. Being far from family might not have mattered when they were both living. Their children up north are now too involved with their own families and cannot constantly travel to help their parent. Often, they want their parent to come back to be close to them.

If this sounds familiar, here are things to consider.

The key to making this less stressful is to prepare. Instead of waiting for a health crisis and moving an ill older person a long distance, talk with parents about their health and plan for the future beforehand.

If there is space in your home, could they live with you? Do they need help with daily activities, or are they determined to stay in their distant location until they must live full-time in a nursing home? What residential options exist near you – assisted living, intermediate care facility, or a residential care facility?

Have they planned for long-term care costs? Do they have long-term care insurance, and if so, do they have the policy to review?

Will they need to apply for Medicaid? If so, should Medicaid planning be done? New York State doesn’t have a residency requirement for applying for Medicaid. Still, financial restrictions may make it difficult for them to qualify for Medicaid.

Do they have estate planning documents so adult children can make financial, legal, and healthcare decisions on their behalf? Documents prepared under the law of another state either may not be valid or accepted in New York. They may also be outdated, which we often see in our office.

There will be many moving parts if it is time to move parents from a distance. A family member will probably need to go to their home and help them decide what to move, what to gift to friends or family members, what to donate, or what to put in the trash. It is an emotionally charged process requiring a lot of patience.

Accredited moving professionals work with relocating seniors. Ask for recommendations or check with the National Association of Senior Move Managers. A social worker at a local hospital or care facility may also be a source for people who regularly help seniors prepare for a major move.

How will you get your frail parent home? If they can fly, request a wheelchair at arrival and departure airports. Try to travel midweek when the airport may not be so crowded. Ideally, family members will fly with them so they are not traveling alone.

Getting health care providers lined up for your parents should be done while the relocation process is ongoing. Get their prescriptions transferred to a new pharmacy and alert their health insurance provider they are moving in advance to prevent any coverage issues.

Why Don’t Celebrities Have Better Estate Planning?

Every time a celebrity dies, I know it’s just a matter of time until we learn how poorly their estate plan has been handled—or not handled, as is so often the case.

In December 2022, DJ  Stephen “Twitch” Boss died without a will and his wife and dance partner Allison Holker has filed a petition in Los Angeles for half of their shared estate.

Chadwick Boseman died without a will—even though he knew of his serious illness and impending death.

When Lisa Marie Presley died, Priscilla Presley filed paperwork shortly after her death to challenge the authenticity of a 2016 amendment to a living trust allegedly made by Lisa Marie. The amendment removed Priscilla as a trustee and named Lisa Marie’s adult children Riley and Benjamin as successor co-trustees, while also removing Barry Siegel, a former business manager.

Priscilla claims the amendment is suspect as the signature isn’t consistent with Lisa Marie’s usual signature, the document was never notarized and the document was never delivered to her as required by the terms of a 2010 arrangement. She also says the date on the amendment is suspicious and it misspells Priscilla’s name.

Lisa Marie’s son Benjamin died in 2020, so her daughter Riley would be a co-trustee of the living trust with Priscilla Presley. Lisa Marie also had twin daughters, now age 14, with her fourth husband Michael Lockwood. They divorced in 2021 but were still battling in family court over finances at the time of her death.

How much is Lisa Marie’s estate worth? In 2018, she filed a lawsuit against Barry Siegel alleging he’d mismanaged her trust, and she’d been left with only $14,000 because of him. Siegel filed a countersuit, alleging she spent all of her fortune and demanding $800,000 in repayment.

Lisa Marie inherited $100 million from her late father Elvis Presley when she was just 25 in 1993.

At the time of his death, Elvis’ estate was valued at $4.9 million, but had grown to $100 million when Lisa Marie took control of it.

According to the Graceland website,  when Elvis died, his will appointed his father Vernon as executor and trustee. The beneficiaries were Elvis’ grandmother Minnie Mae Presley, his father Vernon and his only child, Lisa Marie. Vernon passed in 1979 and Minnie May died in 1980. Lisa Marie Presley was the sole heir to the estate, and his will stated her inheritance was to be held in trust until she turned 25.

At that time, Lisa Marie formed a new trust, The Elvis Presley Trust, to continue the successful management of the estate, with Priscilla Presley and the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis as co-trustees.

Graceland itself is worth at least $10 million, and the entire Elvis Presley estate is valued between $400 – $600 million, according to Rolling Stone Magazine. Priscilla opened Graceland for tours in 1982, which led to the addition of many attractions in the area including a large hotel. Lisa Marie owned and chaired the company, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) until February 2005, when she sold a major interest in the company. Lisa Marie retained a 15% ownership in the company.

Lisa Marie Presley retained 100% personal ownership of Graceland Mansion itself and her father’s personal effects, but Elvis Presley Enterprises manages the operations of Graceland and its many related properties.

Elvis is big business, and this estate battle is likely to go on for quite some time. The planning done by Elvis and his advisors could have been done for more generations, which may have protected his wealth for a far longer period of time. Back in those days, however, entertainers didn’t think of themselves as “brands” with intellectual property that would increase in value after their deaths.

While we can’t always foresee the future, we can plan for it. I would tell celebrities the same thing I tell my clients:

Create an estate plan that also plans for taxes and long-term care. Have the plan reviewed every three to five years, or when a trigger event occurs, such as death, birth, marriage, or divorce, or if you sell or buy a business or property. Consider the longer-range picture for your family and your wealth as best you can.

National Slam the Scam Day is March 9, 2023

On National Slam the Scam Day and throughout the year, we give you the tools to recognize Social Security-related scams and stop scammers from stealing your money and personal information. Share scam information with your loved ones. Slam the Scam!

Recognize the four basic signs of a scam:

  1. Scammers pretend to be from a familiar organization or agency, like the Social Security Administration. They may email attachments with official-looking logos, seals, signatures, or pictures of employee credentials.
  2. Scammers mention a problem or a prize. They may say your Social Security number was involved in a crime or ask for personal information to process a benefit increase.
  3. Scammers pressure you to act immediately. They may threaten you with arrest or legal action.
  4. Scammers tell you to pay using a gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire or money transfer, or by mailing cash. They may also tell you to transfer your money to a “safe” account.

Ignore scammers and report criminal behavior. Report Social Security-related scams to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Visit for more information and follow SSA OIG on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest scam tactics. Repost #SlamtheScam information on social media to keep your friends and family safe.

Scott B. Silverberg, Esq.

Scott B. Silverberg, Esq. Elected President New York Chapter Of National Academy Of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)

We are extremely proud to announce that Scott Silverberg has been elected President of the New York chapter of NAELA.

Scott is dedicated to elevating the profession and has been active with NAELA as well as other national and regional legal organizations.

“My goal as President is to build NAELA in terms of impact and membership. Our work with the New York Legislature focuses on protecting seniors and special needs individuals, at the same time we seek to improve the skills of Elder Lawyers,” he commented recently. “I’m excited about taking this leadership role and look forward to a busy and fulfilling term.”

NAELA is a professional organization of attorneys dedicated to  helping clients with the legal issues associated with aging, including probate and estate planning, guardianship/conservatorship, public benefits, health and long-term care planning and special needs.  Scott is a member of the National Board of Directors of NAELA and was previously Vice President of the New York Chapter.

Scott is a member of The Estate Planning Council of Nassau County, a member chapter of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC).  For the New York State Bar Association, Scott is Chair of the Technology Committee and Vice-Chair of the Practice Management Committee of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Nassau County Bar Association.

Scott focuses his practice on estate planning, Elder Law, and special needs planning. He has attained the L.L.M. (Master of Laws) in Elder Law from the prestigious Stetson University School of Law and is a graduate of Fordham Law School (J.D., 2013). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Scott is admitted to practice in New York State.