Planning for Life

Obesity Decline a Good Omen for Elder Care

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 28, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Years ago, I interviewed Dr. Robert Butler, the father of gerontology, for a podcast series I had at the time. With complete self-interest, I asked how he thought Baby Boomers would fare as they aged, fully expecting a bright future as the result of our athleticism and the benefits of good health care. I was surprised at his response that Baby Boomers as a group could look forward to a miserable old age due to obesity.

Read More

Topics: long-term care planning, baby boomers

Supplemental Needs Trusts: Do They Need a Separate Tax ID?

Posted by Karen Mariscal on July 27, 2015

By Karen B. Mariscal

When creating a supplemental needs trust (“SNT”) for our clients, we are often asked whether the trust requires a separate Tax I.D. number. The short answer is, “Not until you fund it.”  The majority of our clients who create SNTs leave them unfunded until they die, at which point the trust becomes irrevocable and a Tax I.D. number is required.

Read More

Incentive Trusts: Long Arm of the Dead?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 14, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Many affluent parents are concerned about the effect of leaving any wealth to their children and grandchildren. In some instances, they fear that the recipients will misspend the funds on drugs, fancy cars or failing businesses. In other cases, their fear is simply that their children will simply lose their drive to achieve and overcome barriers that may present themselves if there's no financial necessity to do so. (See my blog on Should You Stiff Your Kids?)

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

Should You Disinherit Your Kids?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 7, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Lucas and even Sting won't be giving their millions and billions to their children. Instead, the bulk of their estates will be going to charity. According to an article on CNBC.com, this is not because they don't love their children or just because they think that there are others in the world more in need of their support, but also because they don't want to undermine their children's initiative. Apparently Bill and Melinda Gates, who are worth $79 billion, plan to leave each of their children $10 million, certainly enough to live on, but not enough to purchase several mansions and a Lear jet.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

5 Tips on Hiring a Lawyer

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 30, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

So, you need a lawyer, for an elder law issue such as long-term care planning or guardianship, for estate planning, an employment matter, litigation, a personal injury, or your'e starting a new business. How do you find the right attorney for you? What's most important to you -- reputation, price, location, experience, age, ethnicity, religion? There are a lot of lawyers out there and your choice can make all the difference between a good experience with successful results and a poor experience that does not help you reach your goals.

So, here are some ideas on how to start:

Read More

Topics: Legal profession

How Should Fees for Estate Planning Be Set?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 23, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

No one wants to pay more than they think is reasonable for anything, whether that be food, a car, or estate planning. But what's reasonable? That's often in the eye of the beholder.

Read More

Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

Why Won't People Pay for Financial Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 9, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you know the answers to these questions?

  • What is a variable annuity and should you have one?
  • How much money do you need to retire?
  • Do you need life insurance and, if so, how much? Term or whole life?
  • What's the cost of your 401(k) plan? Or your mutual funds?
  • What's the best 529 plan for your children or grandchildren?
Read More

Topics: financial planning

Timing is Everything So Make Sure You Sign Your Will Now!

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 2, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

In 2005, Paul Lesanto executed a trust that upon his death would divide his estate between his then wife, Donna, and his two children from a prior marriage, Gary and Dianna. He also executed a so-called "pour over" will that would transfer most of his property into the trust, making the trust the governing document in terms of the disposition of Paul's estate.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, probate

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.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning

Section 8 and Special Needs Trusts: Confusing Massachusetts Federal Case Could Cause Problems

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).

Read More

Topics: special needs planning, special needs trusts

Subscribe to New Blog Posts