Planning for Life

What does it mean to be an agent under a durable power of attorney in Massachusetts?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 14, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Have you been asked to serve as an agent (or "attorney-in-fact" to use the technical term) under a durable power of attorney in Massachusetts, but you're not totally sure about your duties and responsibilities? Then you're not alone.  Here's a primer.

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Topics: trusts, guardianship, Estate Planning, durable power of attorney

Funding Your Revocable Living Trust: Re-Titling Assets and Re-Naming Beneficiaries

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on September 12, 2016

We see it all the time – people pay good money to set up a trust in order to avoid probate and minimize estate taxes, and then they fail to fund the trust. Without any assets in it, the trust will fulfill only some of its potential benefit.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning

How one couple prioritized conflicting estate planning goals

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 8, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

My new clients were an older couple, the wife healthy and the husband, unfortunately, suffering from a progressive neurological disease which confined him to a wheelchair. He needed physical help at the start and end of each day and the level of help, and its cost, was likely to grow as his disease progressed. The couple had their main home in Massachusetts, plus a vacation home in New Hampshire. They had sufficient income and savings to cover their current living expenses, but they could be depleted if the husband needed extensive care over a long period of time. Much of their savings was in tax-deferred retirement accounts.

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Topics: long-term care planning, Estate Planning

WellesleyWeston Magazine Publishes Mariscal Opinion

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on September 5, 2016

Margolis & Bloom would like to thank the WellesleyWeston Magazine for publishing our opinion on the need for legal accessory apartments for the disabled and elderly in Massachusetts.  The piece, Keeping our Special Needs Children and Elderly Close, was written by Karen B. Mariscal, Esq., with help from Cathy Boyle of Autism Housing Pathways.
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Topics: special needs

Are You Saving to Leave an Inheritance? Why?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 29, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you hope to leave your children an inheritance? If so, what sacrifices are you willing to make to assure that you do so. Are you working longer or scrimping on spending for yourself? If so, why? Haven't you raised your children and perhaps paid expensive college tuitions? Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own two feet?

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care planning, Retirement Planning

Who Should Get Your Stuff When You Die? And Who Should Decide?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 26, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

In the United States, we get to decide who gets our assets when we die, our children, our spouse, charities, or our hairdresser. The only exception is that absent a prenuptial agreement, spouses have the right to "elect against the will" to get at least a minimum inheritance. This "spousal share" in Massachusetts is relatively meager, $25,000 plus an income interest in half of the remaining estate if the decedent had no surviving children or grandchildren or an income interest in a third of the remaining estate if the deceased spouse did have surviving children or grandchildren. No one else has any rights to the estate at all.

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Topics: Estate Planning, will in massachusetts

Laughter is the Best Medicine:  Humor in the Special Needs Parenting Trenches

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on August 23, 2016

There are so many funny things about raising a disabled child. Often the joke is on me. Like how I am always weirdly and inappropriately concerned about whether my child “wins” at a Special Olympics meet. My son, who is severely autistic, doesn’t even know he is in a race. He still occasionally comes in first, and when that happens, I parade him around with his gold medal for days, so that I can bask in the glory. Again, he has no idea what the medal means, and in fact he doesn’t really appreciate the attention, but apparently that is irrelevant.

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Topics: special needs planning

Accessory Apartments: Keeping Our Special Needs Children and Elderly Close

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on August 15, 2016

Along with the graying of America, our society is grappling with a dramatic surge of young adults impacted by autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities who are aging out of school and into the vastly less supported real world. We need to think creatively about how to provide alternative housing options for them.

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Topics: special needs planning, caregiving

Massachusetts SJC Overturns Pfannenstiehl, Affirming Use of Asset Protection Trusts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 9, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

On August 8th in the case of Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously overturned a lower court decision that had ordered that assets in an irrevocable discretionary trust created by the husband's father be split in a divorce. The SJC in this decision upholds the use of trusts to shelter assets for future generations.

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Topics: trusts, asset protection

ABLE Accounts are Open for Business!

Posted by Karen Mariscal on August 4, 2016

This could be life-changing for your disabled loved one

For the first time, many people with disabilities (and their parents) can open special savings accounts in which they can save money (and have the use of more cash) without jeopardizing their government benefits.  Ohio, Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee have all launched ABLE accounts, based on the 2014 ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act.

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Topics: MassHealth, Intellectually Disabled, disability

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