Donald M. McHugh

Donald M. McHugh

Senior Partner
East Hanover, New Jersey

Donald M. McHugh is a founding and senior partner of McHugh & Macri, Esqs. in East Hanover which was established in 1978. He received his undergraduate business and accounting degree from Seton Hall University and graduated cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law and has privately practiced since his admission to the bar in 1973.

His prior background is in real estate, land use planning and zoning, and municipal law as township and planning board attorney until he began the elder law specialty in 1992 and became a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) in 1997. His current practice addresses medical spend down and asset preservation planning to provide for the supplemental needs of the elder client as well as probate and Medicaid litigation and retirement planning.

Don is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; 2005-2006 Chair of the 500 member Elder/Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association; Chair of subcommittees on NJ Medicaid regulation compliance; assisted living facility regulations and nationwide annuity litigation. He is a frequent author and lecturer on elder/disability law to public and charitable organizations and to professional legal groups, including the NJ Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and the Federal Courts, including the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. McHugh has extensive experience in Medicaid litigation from Fair Hearing through Appellate Division appeals, including the Johnson v. Guhl Frugard and Prall (2010) on the Federal level; achieved a landmark NJ ruling In re Labis (1998) to permit guardians to conduct Medicaid planning; assisted fellow counsel to expand the Labis authority to non-spousal cases in In re Keri (2003) and overturned State payback requirement on commercial annuities in AB vs DMAHS. (2005).

In 2011, Don received the coveted AV legal rating*.  Mr. McHugh 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. He's a member of the State and County Bar Association.

*the highest ranking ethical and practice expertise attainable and was elected to memberships in the NAELA Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP)

Areas of Practice

  • Probate and Medicaid Litigation

Litigation Percentage

  • 10% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)
  • Certified Advanced Practitioner
  • AV Rating

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit


  • Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Seton Hall University
    • Major: Business and Accounting

Published Works

  • Elder/Disability Law, NJ Institute of Continuing Legal Education
  • Medicaid Planning, Aspertome

Representative Cases

  • Johnson v. Guhl (2000)
  • In re Labis (1998)
  • In re Keri (2003)
  • AB v. DMAHS (2005)
  • Frugard v. Velez (2010)
  • Prall v. Velez (2010)


  • Lecturer, Elder/Disability Law, NJ Institute of Continuing Legal Education
  • Medicaid Issues, Administrative Law Judges

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Member
  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Elder/Disability Law Section, Chair, 2005 - 2006
  • NJ Medicaid Regulation Compliance, Chair of Subcommittees
  • Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP)