Planning for Life

4 Models for Attorney-Client Advising

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 26, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Earlier in the year in a blog post titled How Pushy Should Attorneys Be?, I described how my practice has evolved over the years in terms of being more likely to push my opinion on clients than I would have customarily in my earlier career. Since then, I have read Atul Gawande's Being Mortal in which he describes the trend towards a more collaborative relationship between doctors and patients and attended a talk by Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think, who proposes that professionals should give their clients space to think through their decisions so that they come to the right solution themselves.

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Topics: Estate Planning

New Confusing Massachusetts Federal Case Could Cause Problems for Some Tenants

Posted by Karen Mariscal on May 20, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

Special Needs Trusts are designed to allow disabled beneficiaries to supplement their income without causing them to be financially ineligible for certain government programs.  Unfortunately each program is different, and HUD’s Section 8 housing assistance program does not expressly recognize or protect Special Needs Trusts.  A federal district court has recently ruled that the Brookline  local housing authority properly counted payments from a special needs trust as income when it determined that a Section 8 beneficiary was no longer eligible for a housing voucher.  DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (D.Mass., No. 14-13425-WGY, March 25, 2015).

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Topics: special needs planning, special needs trusts

Barreira Provides Guidance on MassHealth Appeals

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 19, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

At the most recent annual MCLE conference on elder and disability law (which I co-chaired), Brian Barreira of Plymouth provided advice on preparing for a MassHealth fair hearing,5809877 both in terms of being successful at the hearing and in order to build a strong record in case a 30A appeal to superior court becomes necessary. He was speaking in the context of much inconsistency by MassHealth in its treatment of irrevocable trusts and its practice of not explaining what it finds wrong in a trust until the fair hearing itself.

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Topics: MassHealth

Do You Employ Someone in Your Home?

Posted by Karen Mariscal on May 15, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

On April 1, 2015, the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights went into effect.  Massachusetts is the fourth state in the nation to enact such a law. The bill guarantees certain protections for home workers, including 24 hours off per 7-day calendar week; meal and rest breaks; limited vacation and sick days; parental leave; legal protections (from discrimination, sexual harassment, illegal charges for food and lodging, and eviction without notice); and notice of termination. The bill does not pertain to casual babysitters.  Here are some of the key provisions:

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Topics: domestic workers bill of rights

Some Elder Care Forms You Can Use

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 12, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The Internet is not only a source of vital information, but also of useful tools. On her website, Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner, offers a number of useful forms and checklists for anyone caring for a senior. Among others, these include:

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Topics: health care decisionmaking, Estate Planning

Support Full Judicial Funding

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 5, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Last week, on behalf of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, I gants98x147attended a program for bar leadership at the Supreme Judicial Court. Chaired by Chief Justice Ralph Gants, the presenters made the case for why the courts need full funding in the coming year's state budget.

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Topics: Supreme Judicial Court

Assisted Living Keeps Growing in Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 5, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently heard a presentation by Michael Banville, acting president of the Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association (MassALFA), in which he provided information about trends in the assisted living industry in Massachusetts, including the following:

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Topics: assisted living

Not Even Close: Raising a Child with Autisim

Posted by Karen Mariscal on April 29, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

I came by my work as a special needs lawyer naturally, in that my husband and I have a severely autistic son, our first child, who is now a young adult.  We have navigated the educational system and the transition years, and Billy is now attending a community day program at the Charles River Center in Needham.  At this point he still lives at home, although we are working on creating a group home for him in Framingham.  Here is my story.

“Not even close.”

This is what I said to my pediatrician when she asked me the very simple yet profound question “What does he do when you ask him to go get his shoes?”

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Topics: special needs planning, autism

Using Immediate Annuities in MassHealth Planning for Single Nursing Home Residents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 28, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Last week, I blogged about how immediate annuities might be used by spouses of nursing home residents to preserve their assets and qualify the nursing home spouse for MassHealth coverage. Immediate annuities are also used by unmarried or widowed nursing home residents, but with less favorable results. In effect, they permit the nursing home resident to pay the MassHealth rate rather than the private-pay rate. Use of immediate annuities is based on the following rules and facts:

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care planning

Immediate Annuities in MassHealth Planning for Married Couples

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 23, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) is the primary source of payment for long-term care services in the United States. To qualify, however, those needing long-term care must become impoverished under MassHealth's complicated and often-changing rules. To make matters even more complicated, the rules differ depending on whether the patient seeks care at home, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home. The following discussion of the use of immediate annuities applies only to the nursing home setting. But in that setting, immediate annuities can be of great benefit in protecting spouses of nursing home residents and to a lesser extent can help preserve assets for the children of nursing home residents who are unmarried or widowed, which will be the subject of another blog post.

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Topics: MassHealth planning

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