Our Blog: Planning for Life

Should You Use a Lawyer or LegalZoom for Your Estate Plan?

Posted by Harry Margolis on August 20, 2014

While the goals of attorneys and their clients are supposed to be aligned, often they are not, or at least not completely. I've been thinking about what this means in the field of estate planning and how we can better serve our clients.To lay the groundwork, here are the premises I'm working with:

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Topics: long-term care planning, estate planning, estate taxes, second home, second marriage

Beware Rolling Over Too Many IRAs

Posted by Harry Margolis on August 11, 2014

In the recent case of Bobrow v. Commissioner, the U.S. Tax Court overturned a longstanding IRA rule permitting taxpayers to "roll over" multiple IRAs in a single year. The IRS had interpreted a limitation on one roll over a year to apply separately to each IRA a taxpayer may own. So the taxpayer could roll over IRA A in February, IRA B in May and IRA C in October.

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Topics: retirement plans, IRA rollovers, Bobrow v. Commissioner

MassHealth Appeal Denied as Form Defeats Function

Posted by Harry Margolis on July 29, 2014

In the case of Boudreau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass. App. No. 13-P-1337, July 25, 2014), the Massachusetts Court of Appeals dismisses a complaint for judicial review because it was filed by the appellant's attorney rather than his conservator.JML banner

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Topics: MassHealth appeal, MassHealth application, Matthew J. Dupuy, Mark Boudreau, Boudreau v. Medicaid

Nursing Home Physician Cannot be Compelled To Arbitrate Malpractice Claim

Posted by Alexandra Lowe on July 22, 2014

In a recent decision, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, in Walker v. Collyer, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 311 (2014), holds that physician Charles Walker cannot be compelled to arbitrate a medical malpractice claim despite an arbitration agreement signed by the senior health care facility at which he treated patients.  He had not signed the agreement. 

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Topics: nursing home arbitration agreements, karl collyer, walker v.collyer, charles walker

Is an Inherited IRA Protected from Creditors? No!

Posted by Harry Margolis on July 15, 2014

In general under the 2005 Bankruptcy Code, IRAs and other retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and SEP plans, are protected in the event of bankruptcy by the owner -- one more reason to fund your retirement plan with as much as possible. But what about an inherited IRA? The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided in Clark v. Rameker that they do not enjoy any  bankruptcy protection.

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Topics: 401(k), beneficiary designation, beneficiary designations, 401(k)s, creditor protection, inherited IRAs

4 Tax Benefits Available to Baby Boomers Caring for Seniors

Posted by Harry Margolis on July 8, 2014

Increasingly, federal and state governments are providing assistance to family members caring for seniors. Some of these programs involve direct payment through Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts), such as for personal care attendants or adult foster care. (Click here to learn more about these programs.)

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Topics: senior care, dependent care tax credit, medical expense tax deduction

Will an iPhone be Admitted to Probate?

Posted by Harry Margolis on July 1, 2014

As you no doubt know, your will governs who will receive your probate property when you pass away. Probate property essentially means property in your name alone as opposed to property you own with someone in joint names, property in trust, or property with a named beneficiary, such as a retirement plan.

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Topics: wills, unwitnessed wills, unsigned wills, probate, holographic wills

Will MassHealth Take My House?

Posted by Harry Margolis on June 24, 2014

I'm often asked whether MassHealth "will take my house" or other assets. A recent posting on ElderLawAnswers.com, where I answers questions from consumers, reads in part:

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Topics: pooled disability trusts, protecting the home, Medicaid lien, MassHealth estate recovery

Roz Chast Pens Book on Parents' Declining Years

Posted by Harry Margolis on June 10, 2014

The New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has published a book describing her parents' last years as they fell into disability and dementia in their 90s. A difficult couple to have as parents, taking care of them through their denial and her conflicting emotions of obligation, guilt and resentment also induced great conflict and anxiety.

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Topics: elder care, Roz Chast, Can't We Talk About Something Pleasant?

7 Issues to Consider When Choosing a Trustee

Posted by Harry Margolis on June 3, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trustee, trust

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