Planning for Life

Dueling Deeds: An Example of Why Legal Work Must be by The Book

Posted by Alexandra Lowe on December 19, 2014

By Alexandra Lowe

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals, in Allen v. Allen (Mass. App. Ct., No. 13-P-605, September 16, 2014), affirmed that a property conveyance from mother to son did not take precedence over a subsequent transfer due to a defective acknowledgement of the mother’s signature.  At issue in the case are two conflicting deeds transferring a family home.  Both transfers were signed by the grantor and recorded at the registry of deeds. 

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New Study Reports Decreased Nursing Home Risk

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 16, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

The Boston College Center for Retirement Research has released the results of a new analysis which reports a higher than previously-reported likelihood that Americans over age 65 will need long-term care, but a lower likelihood that they will spend a long time in a nursing home. The study, Long-Term Care: How Big a Risk?, compares recent data to a 1999 report and finds that:

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Topics: nursing home care

The Effect of the Market on Retirement Solvency

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 9, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

While the ups and downs of the market can have a favorable or deleterious effect on savings and investments while we're saving for retirement, they have a much larger effect on solvency during retirement. This was illustrated by financial planners Amy Lampert and Richard Belofsky of The Bulfinch Group speaking at our firm's monthly First Monday Lunch for Professionals.

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Topics: retirement planning

Beware of Deed Scams

Posted by Christina T. Vidoli on December 3, 2014

By Christina T. Vidoli

Homeowners beware: Some unscrupulous companies are trying to get owners to pony up for a copy of their deed, but it’s a scam.

Recently, several clients have contacted us to inquire about a notice they received in the mail that resembles an invoice from a company with the name “Record Transfer Service” of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The notice instructs them to send $83 to the company in exchange for a copy of their deed.  Each of the clients who have reported receiving this notice had recently made a change to the title of real estate, all of which is public information. Many people mistakenly believe they are required to pay the fee to get a copy of their deed and willingly send the money.  And as long as you receive the documents you’ve paid for, there’s nothing illegal about it.  By law, the companies are required to include a disclaimer on the notices, but many people overlook it and wind up becoming victims of this scam.  You can get this document yourself—for 50 cents per page if you go to the Registry of Deeds in the county where your property is located, $1.00 per page if you mail in a request, and some counties allow you to print a copy for free from the Registry’s website.

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Black Heirlooms: How Lack of Estate Planning Tore One Family Apart

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 2, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

In a short documentary, Amanda Brown describes how disputes over elder care for her 86-year-old grandmother, Edna Mae "Mee-Mah" Royal, after her stroke tore her formerly tightly-knit family apart. As a result of the split with three of her eight children on one side and five on the other, siblings are not talking to each other and grandchildren are no longer speaking with aunts and uncles. In addition, some families stand to inherit family real estate and others do not.

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Topics: estate disputes

What are Trust Protectors and Should You Have One?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 25, 2014

Trust protectors have become a more common feature of irrevocable trusts in recent years because they offer flexibility and oversight. Having originated with off-shore trusts that are used primarily to protect assets from creditors, trust protectors are now found in special needs and domestic asset protection trusts and sometimes in trusts used for tax planning purposes.

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Topics: trusts, trustee, trust, trust protector

7 Ways a Donor Advised Fund Can Help Your Charitable Giving

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 11, 2014

Donor advised funds are charitable foundations that commit to following the advice of donors in distributing their accounts to charities. Many community foundations, such as The Boston Foundation, manage donor advised funds for their contributors. The contributor takes the charitable tax deduction in the year she contributes to the fund even though she may not pass the funds on to charities for several years. Some have questioned this as a public policy matter, but it has certain benefits for the donor.

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Topics: charitable contributions

Premium Assistance from MassHealth for Private Health Insurance

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on November 10, 2014

It seems that very few parents of intellectually disabled adult children aged 18-26 know about the MassHealth Standard/CommonHealth Premium Assistance Program, which can provide meaningful financial assistance to those who qualify.

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Topics: masshealth, private insurance,

Are We Elder Law or Elder Care Attorneys?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 4, 2014

Since the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) was founded more than 25 years ago, lawyers who work with seniors have been trying to brand themselves as "elder law" attorneys. Despite this effort, more and more often I hear us referred to as "elder care" attorneys. "Elder law attorneys" still gets almost four times as many results in Google than "elder care attorneys," but that doesn't seem like a lot when there has been no effort made to promote the second term, though the results overlap significantly.

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Topics: elder care law, elder law

Attending The Lion King with my Autistic Son

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on October 29, 2014

Something incredible happened on Saturday.  Billy and I were ableson,dad,mom to attend one of the best shows ever produced, without any worry that his rocking or singing would disturb anyone.  In fact every other person in the audience seemed to be rocking or talking or singing or clapping or standing up at inopportune times – Autism Speaks sponsored a show just for people on the autism spectrum.  And what a show it was.  I cried at the opening Circle of Life, which is so overwhelming anyway with elephants and zebras coming down the aisles. I looked at the mom next to me, who also had a young adult son with her, and she was crying too.  To think that we could have our 20-something sons finally attend a Broadway show was just too much.

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Topics: special needs

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