Planning for Life

Anticipating the Costs of Long Term Care

Posted by Sarah Foster on March 27, 2015

By Sarah Foster

Many responsible adults trying to plan for the future tend to focus on one side of their balance sheet -- namely, their projected income and assets -- because those figures can be estimated based on current available information, like expected social security payouts, accrued retirement savings, and anticipated pension payouts.  Harder to project, but just as important to understanding the overall health of one's future finances, however, are the outlays that one will have to make down the road for certain expenses, such as long term care.  While there are certainly unknown variables, such as the degree and duration of care/assistance an individual will require during his or her lifetime, readily available data does exist that will allow one to consider the range of long term care expenses one may eventually incur.

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7 Decisions to Make for Your Durable Power of Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 24, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

I've always said that the durable power of attorney is your most important estate planning document. It appoints your agent or agents (called your "attorney-in-fact") to step in and act for you on financial and legal matters in the event you ever become incapacitated. It can permit them to pay your bills, make investment decisions, take planning steps, and take care of your family when you can't do so yourself.

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Topics: estate planning

If You're a Super Lawyer, Where's Your Cape?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 17, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

With the proliferation of attorney ratings in recent years, what if anything do they mean? For decades, Martindale Hubbell provided a peer-reviewed rating of "AV" for its top-rated attorneys. It has now changed it to "AV Preeminent" to compete with a plethora of upstarts, including Super Lawyers, AVVO and Best Law Firms, the last of which seems to be reserved primarily to larger law firms worldwide.

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Topics: top-rated lawyers

VA Benefits for Home Care to be Restricted: Comment on Proposal Now.

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on March 16, 2015

By Patricia C. D'Agostino

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Topics: aid and attendance, va benefits

When is the Right Time to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 10, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The other day, I met with a long-term care insurance broker who bemoaned the quicker timetable of estate planning attorneys as compared to the underwriting process for long-term care insurance (LTCI). He reported that in his experience most estate planners try to complete the process from first meeting to executing the ultimate documents in about five weeks. It takes longer than that for an application for LTCI to be approved or rejected by insurance companies who will only sell policies to healthy applicants.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care insurance

Digital Estate Planning: Who Should Have Access to Your On-line Accounts?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 3, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Facebook has recently implemented a legacy contact to give an individual you name access to some aspects of your Facebook account after you pass away. Google instituted a similar Inactive Account Manager in 2013. Both are responses to an increasingly common dilemma as individuals pass away "owning" many Internet accounts and identities.

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Topics: estate planning

The MassHealth PCA Program Can Pay Children to Care for Parents

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on March 2, 2015

By Patricia C. D'Agostino

Adult children of seniors who need care at home can be caught in a difficult bind—wanting to provide the kind of substantial hands-on assistance that will permit a parent to remain at home instead of moving to a long-term care facility, but finding themselves unable to do so given their own financial need to work and the demands of their jobs.  The MassHealth Personal Care Attendant (“PCA”) program can offer a solution for many families who find themselves in this situation.  The PCA program can provide a person with approximately $13 per hour to pay a caregiver (including a child or other family member, so long as they are not the parent’s legal guardian or spouse).  

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Topics: Massachusetts, pca program, masshealth personal care attendant

Is a Probate Proceeding Always Required After Someone Dies?

Posted by Jeffrey A. Bloom on February 18, 2015

By Jeffrey A. Bloom

Probate is a legal process by which an appointed individual -- usually a spouse or family member -- is given the power to identify and gather a deceased person's ("decedent's") assets, pay any debts or taxes the decedent owes, and eventually transfer any remaining assets to the people who will inherit them, either according to the terms of the decedent's will (if one exists) or according to Massachusetts law (if one does not).  In 2012, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code ("MUPC") in an effort to simplify the state's probate and estate administration process.  Below are some key points to keep in mind regarding the probate process:

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Topics: probate, asset, mupc,

How Pushy Should Attorneys Be?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 10, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

When I was in law school I took part in a clinic that taught us lawyering skills as an adjunct to the substantive law taught in the other classes. The clinic taught a theory of client counseling that I have moved away from in my actual practice. We were taught to empower clients by explaining the legal consequences of particular choices they might make and based on the information that we provide to leave to the clients to decide how to proceed.

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Topics: trustee advice, estate planning

ABLE Accounts: A Little Deflating

Posted by Karen Mariscal on February 9, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

It’s as if the ball was stolen out of our hands at the 1 yard line.

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, enabling parents of children with significant disabilities to set aside funds to help pay their children’s expenses, tax-free, and without affecting their eligibility for public benefits. It is set up like a 529 account for the costs of education. The special needs community has been advocating for this for years, and it certainly sounds like a victory. But reading the fine print, it is not clear that these accounts will be of much help to parents or their children with disabilities.

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Topics: achieving a better life experience,, ABLE act

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