Planning for Life

7 Reasons You Should Consider A QTIP Trust

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 26, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

older married couple with lawyer.jpgSo, what's a QTIP trust? "QTIP" stands for qualified terminable interest property. Total legal gobbledygook, right? So forget the words. What it means is a trust that you leave for your spouse that gives his the right to all of the income and limits his right to the principal. Those limits can be total, meaning no right to principal, or minor, meaning simply limited by the HEMS standard (for health, education, maintenance and financial security) or fully available but controlled by a trustee other than your spouse.  

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Topics: trusts, asset protection, Estate Planning, estate taxes

Talk to Your Client, or Face the Consequences

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 19, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

An experienced Massachusetts attorney was recently admonished by the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) for steps he took to protect his client, steps he took without contacting her directly. (Admonition No. 17-06)

The lawyer, who is unnamed in the admonition, but who we'll call Lawyer A, received a call from another attorney who asked Lawyer A to turn over the client's files. The new attorney said that the client, an elderly woman, had now hired him. Lawyer A called the woman's daughter, who was named on her mother's durable power of attorney.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Attorney- Client Relationship

A Different Approach to Estate Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 12, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I had lunch the other day with Vincent Bonazzoli of the Family Estate Planning Law Group in Lynnfield. He has a different approach to estate planning representation that may work better for many attorneys and their clients than more traditional forms of estate planning.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

5 Reasons to Use a Lawyer for MassHealth Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 5, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Okay, this is somewhat self-serving. As an elder law attorney, my firm and I advise clients on how they can plan to be eligible for MassHealth coverage of their long-term care. But many seniors and their families don't use lawyers, whether for long-term care planning or assistance with the MassHealth application, often because they're afraid of the cost. Some take steps based on what they've heard from others, some do nothing, and others enlist non-lawyers to assist with MassHealth applications, often referred by nursing homes.

Here's a few reasons to use an elder law attorney instead:

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth

2 Reasons Surviving Spouses Should File Federal Estate Tax Returns: Portability and Capital Gains

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 29, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

With the threshold for federal estate taxes set at $5.49 million this year (it adjusts each year for inflation), very few estates have to file a federal estate tax return. In contrast, the Massachusetts threshold is $1 million, meaning that many more estates must file a Massachusetts return. For estates that fall between $1 million and $5.49 million, it can still make sense to file a federal return if the decedent left a surviving spouse.

This is for two reasons: portability and capital gains step up.

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Topics: capital gains taxes, Probate Estate Administration, estate taxes

Parenting a Child on the Autism Spectrum: A Curious Incident

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 24, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

incident of the dog.pngRecently I attended a play, "A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” in Boston, and I am reminded how truly powerful theater can be. Having read the book I didn't expect to be impacted so much, to the point that I couldn't breathe. The moment in the play that stood out most to me was the mother of Christopher, the 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s, explaining why she left home, eventually getting a divorce. 

Here's what she said about parenting her child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, (like my child), quoting from the book:

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Topics: Managing Stress, Telomere, Stress, Telomere Effect, Caregivers, Mothers of chronically ill children

The Trump-Ryan Plan for Medicaid Moves Towards Block Grants

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 22, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

10-donald-trump-paul-ryan.w710.h473.jpgWith the release of the House GOP plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, we can now begin moving from conjecture to reality, though much still remains uncertain. This article will focus on the proposed changes to Medicaid and how they could affect seniors and people with disabilities.

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth, Medicaid

Managing Stress Can Save a Caregivers Life

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 15, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

Karen's mom.jpgFamily caregivers are under a tremendous amount of stress. It is no surprise that when scientists went looking for a population that would likely record chronic stress throughout their lives, they used mothers of chronically ill children.

Compared to control mothers of healthy children, scientists Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel, whose research won the Nobel Prize, found that the mothers who spent years caring for ill children had shorter telomeres (caps to the chromosomes). When telomeres become too short, cells can no longer multiply, which is a very bad thing.

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Topics: Managing Stress, Telomere, Stress, Telomere Effect, Caregivers, Mothers of chronically ill children

Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 13, 2017

Deconstructing Conflict.jpgThere is the old myth of "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" for family owned and operated enterprises. The real truth is most family businesses that fail do so because they don't plan ahead, or they don't handle conflict well.

Blair Trippe, Managing Partner of Continuity Family Business Consulting and co-author of Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power, visited Margolis & Bloom on Monday, March 6th, as part of our monthly First Monday Lunch for Professionals series to discuss understanding and managing conflict in family business situations.

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Reminder: There is No Such Thing as a Medicare "Improvement" Standard

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 8, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

hospital-discharge-protections-medicare-legal-guide.pngFor decades Medicare, skilled nursing facilities and visiting nurse associations have applied the so-called "improvement" standard in determining whether residents were entitled to Medicare coverage of the care. The standard, which can be found nowhere in Medicare law, only permitted coverage if the skilled treatment was deemed to contribute to improving the patient's condition, which can be difficult to achieve for many ill seniors.

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Topics: Medicare, nursing homes

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