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About me

I have been a practicing attorney since 1983, admitted in New Jersey and New York. A graduate of Rutger's Law School in Newark, NJ, I practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning and administration, special needs planning, probate and guardianship litigation, family law, mediation and collaborative law. Before attending law school, I worked for the Social Security Administration adjudicating claims for benefits under the Social Security, SSI, Medicare and Medicaid programs. I served as law clerk to Hon. Herbert S. Alterman, J.S.C., a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court. I am board-certified as an elder law attorney. I have also received accreditation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare, present and prosecute claims for veterans. In 1992, I founded my own law firm and I now employ other legal professionals and support staff.  I have litigated cases in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies. I am also licensed to sell insurance products, annuities and long-term care insurance. I am happily married and the father of three children.

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The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli is on Google+:


Languages spoken: Mandarin

Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Elder Law: 25%
  2. Lawsuits & Disputes: 20%
    7 years
  3. Estate Planning: 20%
  4. Health Care: 10%
  5. Other: 25%
  6. More 



Fixed (sometimes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check

Attorney endorsements

8 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Christina Samayoa Vanarelli

    Cares about his clients and does his very best every time ... has argued brilliantly in front of NJ supreme court...what a treat to watch!


    Christina Vanarelli General practice Attorney
    Relationship: Family member

  • Brad Michael Micklin

    Donald Vanarelli is an experienced attorney whose participation and comments in Avvo show his commitment to serving clients as well as his level of experience. He is an excellent attorney that I recommend wholeheartedly.


    Brad Micklin Divorce and separation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli

242 St. Paul Street
Westfield, NJ, 07090


NYCurrently registered 198407/10/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Marilyn Askin Lifetime Achievement AwardNew Jersey State Bar Association’s Elder and Disability Law Section2015
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2015
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2014
Namd toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2013
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2012
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2011
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2010
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer "List2009
Recognized as one of the top 25 mediators in NJNJBIZ magazine2008
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2008
Accredited Veterans AttorneyDepartment of Veterans Affairs2008
Named toNew Jersey "Super Lawyer" List2007
Lead CounselIn re Keri, 181 N.J. 50 (2004), a landmark NJ Supreme Court guardianship / elder law case.2004
Member, Council of Advanced Practitioners (invitation only).National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys2004
"AV" RatedMartindale-Hubbell2000
Certified Elder Law AttorneyNational Elder Law Foundation1998
National Certified GuardianCenter for Guardianship Certification1997
Accredited Professional MediatorNew Jersey Association of Professional Mediators1987
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Co-FounderElder Mediation Center of New Jersey1996 - Present
OwnerLaw Office of Donald D. Vanarelli1992 - Present
Law ClerkSuperior Court of New Jersey1983 - 1984
InternshipUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third Judicial Circuit1982 - 1983
InternshipSecurities and Exchange Commission1981 - 1982
Summer AssociateSchering-Plough Corporation1980 - 1981
Social Insurance RepresentativeSocial Security Administration1974 - 1980
VolunteerPeace Corps1972 - 1974
Association namePosition nameDuration
New Jersey Association of Professional MediatorsDirector2010 - Present
New Jersey Collaborative Law GroupCo-Founder2008 - Present
National Organization of Veterans AdvocatesMemberN/A
National Organization of Social Security Claimants' RepresentativesMemberN/A
Superior Court, Union County, Chancery DivisionUnion County Probate Early Settlement Panelist.N/A
New Jersey Department of Banking and InsuranceInsurance Producer, Certified in Long Term Care.N/A
Academy of Special Needs Planners.Founding MemberN/A
National Guardianship AssociationMemberN/A
Union County Bar Association, Elder Law CommitteeMemberN/A
Somerset County Bar Association, Elder Law CommitteePast ChairmanN/A
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (New Jersey chapter)Past SecretaryN/A
New Jersey State Bar Association, Elder and Disability Law SectionChair2010 - 2011
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
In re KeriPer Curiam decision in favor of plaintiff
In the Matter of the Trusts to be Established in the Matter of the Estate of Margaret A. Flood, DeceasedApplication Granted.
G.L. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services and Middlesex County Board of Social ServicesDenial of Eligibility for Medicaid Reversed
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
NAELA JournalFinancial Exploitation of the Elderly: Impact on Medicaid Eligibility2010
November 2009 NAELA Conference MaterialsPost-Incapacity Planning Through Guardianship2009
Aging Well magazinePreventing Future Challenges To Your Estate Plan2009
Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli BlogIntentionally Omitting Children From Your Will2009
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)Post-Guardianship Public Benefits Planning2009
Aging Well magazineAssessing the Need for Guardianship2009
The ElderLaw ReportThe Impact of Financial Exploitation on Medicaid Eligibility2009
New Jersey Law JournalEmerging Medicaid Eligibility Strategies2009
New Jersey LawyerElder Mediation2008
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Elder Decisions, A Division of Agreement Resources, LLCAdvanced Elder Mediation TrainingCertificate2007
Jersey Shore Collaborative Law GroupInterdisciplinary Collaborative Family Law TrainingCertificate2007
Institute for Dispute Resolution of New JerseyDivorce Mediation TrainingCertificate2004
Somerset - Middlesex Inn of CourtTrial Advocacy SkillsCertificate1989
University of Virginia School of Law Institute of Trial AdvocacyTrial Advocacy SkillsCertificate1987
Rutgers University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1983
Montclair State UniversityEnglish Literature and HistoryBA - Bachelor of Arts1972
California State University, ChicoEnglish Literature and HistoryMontclair - Chico Domestic Exchange ProgramN/A
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
New Jersey State Bar Association Annual MeetingEthical Issues Involved In Representing Clients With Diminished Capacity2009
Advanced Elder Law InstituteFinancial Exploitation of the Elderly2008