Planning for Life

MassHealth Permitted Late Intervention in Personal Injury Case

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 22, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

Hand about to bang gavel on sounding block in the court room

In 2009, Evelyn E. Gries was hit by a car driven by Annmarie B. Hunt. Ms. Gries died about a year and a half later and a year and a half after that her estate brought suit against Ms. Hunt. In another year and a half (there's a pattern here) at the end of 2013, the parties settled for the full amount of Ms. Hunt's insurance, $250,000. They stipulated to the dismissal of the lawsuit at the beginning of 2014.

None of the parties notified MassHealth

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Topics: MassHealth, personal injury settlement, MassHealth lien

What's It Like to Meet with an Attorney to Do Your Estate Plan?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 15, 2018

 By Harry S. Margolis

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Financial columnist John Schwartz reports in The New York Times on his and his wife's experience in getting their estate plan done, and it doesn't sound too terrible. At first, he checked out a number of on-line will programs, which he felt could work for anyone with a straightforward situation, as long as they at least consult with an attorney to make sure anything they don't know won't come back to bite them or their families.

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Topics: will

Bloom and Margolies, No That's Not a Typo

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 8, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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As reported in The New York Times, Sylvia Bloom spent 67 years working as a legal secretary in New York City at the international law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. She retired at age 96 and died soon thereafter in 2016 with an estate of nearly $9 million. She had no children, and her estate gave $6.24 to the Henry Street Settlement in the Lower East Side, the biggest single gift the social service agency has received in its 125-year history.

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Topics: will

Globe Reports on Young Man Stung By Social Security System

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 1, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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In a column in Monday's Boston Globe, "Government demands back $1,600 it paid to quadriplegic while he worked as a college intern," Sean P. Murphy reports on Jared Coppola who suffered a spine injury while playing high school football. Fortunately, nine years later Coppola has graduated college and is working full-time and living in Atlanta.

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Topics: SSI, SSDI

Brookline Nursing Home Subject to 93A Claim

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 24, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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The U.S. District Court for Boston has ruled that the estate of a deceased resident of the Brookline Health Care Center (BHCC) can pursue its claim that the facility violated the Consumer Protection Act, often referred to by its statutory reference, 93A.

Sarah Theresa Libby died after choking at BHCC on May 7, 2014. This occurred "when she was left unsupervised to eat in the dayroom of the nursing home in which she resided." Mrs. Libby's estate brought suit for wrongful death in Estate of Sarah Theresa Libby v. Park Marion and Vernon Streets Operating Company (U.S. Dist. Ct. Boston, C.A. No. 17-10843-JGD) for negligence and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The 93A claim carries with it the threat of treble damages and the facility being responsible for the plaintiff's legal fees.

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Topics: nursing homes, assisted living

M&B Attorneys Win Two MassHealth Trust Hearings

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 11, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

Applicants for MassHealth who have done advance planning involving sheltering assets in irrevocable trusts have been plagued by MassHealth denials of eligibility based on specious legal arguments. This results in fair hearing and court appeals that can sometimes take years. Two of our clients recently received favorable resolution of their cases before the MassHealth Board of Hearings.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Should You Engage in Massachusetts Estate Tax Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 3, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

 Happy family with dream house

With the threshold for federal estate taxes now at $11.2 million (in 2018) you probably don't have to worry about it or do any planning to avoid it. Very few Americans have federally taxable estates. But the threshold for the Massachusetts residents is $1 million. So, if you live in Massachusetts and your estate is above $1 million -- not so hard if you own a house in many communities in the state -- should you engage in estate tax planning?

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Topics: estate taxes

Managing Risk for Unpredictable Events

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 27, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

At a recent conference of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, I spent some time catching up with my old friend and colleague, Paul Sturgul.Paul-Picture-225x300.jpg Paul practices in a very different part of the country from me, in Hurley, Wisconsin, as opposed to Boston's Back Bay. Hurley, which has just over 1,500 residents, is about 100 miles east of Duluth, Minnesota, near the southern shores of Lake Superior. (If you think we've been having a long winter, the average high temperature in Hurley in March is 25 degrees and the average low is 15.)

5536525_WI_Hurley.pngWhile Paul has to drive a lot further to see his clients (he has a second office in Ashland, 38 miles from Hurley), what we do for our clients is surprisingly similar. Here's how Paul describes the essence of elder law:

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Topics: seniors, elder law

MassHealth Denial in Trust Case Overturned

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 20, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

In a case argued by Margolis & Bloom senior associate Sarah Hartline, the Essex Superior Court has overturned a MassHealth denial of coverage for a nursing home resident who MassHealth found had countable assets available from a trust she had created.attorney-sarah-foster-headshot-1.jpg

The trust in question in Yanow v. Office of Medicaid (Essex Sup. Ct. CA No. 1677CV00599, March 7, 2018), provided for the payment of income earned on trust assets to the grantor, but barred the distribution of any principal to her. Nevertheless, MassHealth argued that due to an administrative provision in the trust which permits the trustee "to determine what part of the trust property is income and what part is principal" the trustee was able to deem all of the trust property "income" and distribute it to the grantor (the applicant for MassHealth benefits).

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Topics: trusts, MassHealth

Why We Don't Plan: Prunes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 13, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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Why don't people, especially seniors, plan to protect themselves and their families? The answer, which I learned at a program sponsored by the Boston Estate Planning Council about findings from the MIT Age Lab, can in part be explained by the acronym PRUNE. PRUNE stands the types of information that have emotional impact on us, those that are:

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Topics: Estate Planning, financial planning, aging

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