Planning for Life

Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 18, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

When you consult with your financial advisor or planner, does she put your interests first, or is she simply under an obligation to sell products that are "appropriate"? If you don't know, ask.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

MassHealth Seeking to Limit Use of Pooled Trusts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 11, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

MassHealth has proposed massive changes to its regulations governing long-term care, both in the community and in nursing homes. Many of these are complicated, but could adversely affect many seniors in the state. One that's not so complicated is a proposal to limit transfers to pooled disability trusts.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, MassHealth

Major Change to Eligibility Criteria for Home and Community Based Services Waiver

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 5, 2017

By Patricia C. D'Agostino, Esq.

There is now an asset limit of $120,900 for married elders seeking eligibility for the Home and Community Based Services Waiver (the “Waiver).  This will be effective for Waiver participants who enrolled in the program after January 1, 2014.  MassHealth is not reviewing the eligibility of those who enrolled before that date.

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How LTCI Companies Shoot Themselves in the Foot

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 4, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Probably the biggest drawback to buying long-term care insurance is that you cannot be certain that your company will not raise its premiums. If you're paying $4,000 a year now, the company may raise this to $5,000, $6,000 or $7,000 a year in a decade or more. That may or may not be affordable when the time comes. You'll have a choice at that point to (1) pay the higher premium, (2) decrease your benefit level under the policy, or (3) drop the policy all together. This is the choice my friend, John Lippitt, and his wife are facing. Here's some of what he wrote to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance:

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Probate Court Upholds Beneficiary Designation: Attorney-in-fact Executed Documents for Her Own Benefit

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 23, 2016

When can an attorney-in-fact change an estate plan for her own benefit? When it's what the grantor or the durable power of attorney wants. In Giroux v. Laranjo, et al. (Bristol Probate Court Docket Nos. BR15F0006QC and BR13P2422EA, March 4, 2016), the court upholds the validity of a schedule of trust beneficiaries executed by Patricia A. Giroux as attorney-in-fact for Joseph A. Peixoto even though she stood to gain a considerable amount from its execution.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, Probate Estate Administration

New Law Adds to Hospital Discharge Protections

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 20, 2016

Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which gives hospital patients the right to designate a caregiver who will be advised of the patient's discharge or transfer plans with the right to discuss these with hospital personnel. Specifically,

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Topics: hospital care

Grandfather May Intervene in Granddaughter's Guardianship

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 13, 2016

By Kate English

In a recent guardianship decision, Guardianship of B.V.G., 474 Mass 315 (2016), the Supreme Judicial Court holds that an “interested person” may have standing to intervene in an incapacitated adult’s welfare even if he isn’t an “heir-at-law.”
                

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Topics: guardianship

Congress Passes Special Needs Fairness Act

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 9, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

As part of the 21st Century Cures Act which passed last week, Congress  has finally corrected a glitch in the law dating back to 1993. Back then, Congress authorized the creation of so-called (d)(4)(A) trusts which permit people with disabilities under age 65 to shelter funds and still qualify for Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) and Supplemental Security Income. A quirk in the law has required these trusts to be created by a parent, grandparent, guardian or court, even if the beneficiary is competent to create the trust herself. This has limited the availability of these trusts and required expensive proceedings in court which have often delayed eligibility for vital public benefits.

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Topics: trusts, special needs planning

Announcing the Creation of the Trump Policy Analysis Group Focusing on Older Americans and Individuals with Special Needs

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 7, 2016

Five leading elder law attorneys have created theTrump Policy Analysis Group (TPAG)[1] to consider probable changes in law that will affect older Americans and those with special needs.  Initially TPAG will focus on entitlements, public benefits, tax, special needs planning, and veterans’ benefits.

TPAG Members and Experience

Michael Gilfix of Palo Alto, California, A. Frank Johns of Greensboro, North Carolina, Harry S. Margolis of Boston, Tim Nay of Portland, Oregon, and Vincent J. Russo of Long Beach, New York, together have over 160 years experience advising individuals and families and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tax, long-term care, veterans’ benefits, and special needs planning.  They are established authors, speakers, and experts and include founders and leaders of national organizations, including the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, addressing the needs of aging and vulnerable populations.

Following is their initial analysis.

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Topics: Medicare, social security, income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, Medicaid

Benson, Bloom and Margolis are (Still) Super Lawyers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2016

Margolis & Bloom’s Rebecca J. Benson, Jeffrey A. Bloom and Harry S. Margolis have again been named among the 17 Massachusetts Super Lawyers in elder law and 30 in New England. Just 5 percent of lawyers are given this designation.

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Topics: super lawyers

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