Planning for Life

Anthony Bushu

Recent Posts

June 1st Marks 30 Years of Elder Law and Special Needs Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on June 1, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

JAB-HSM-RJB (high res).jpgThirty-one years ago my law firm, Palmer & Dodge, sent me over to Greater Boston Elderly Legal Services for a four-month stint representing seniors being pushed out of their homes during one of the earliest phases of gentrification. This served several purposes. The firm was able to provide a pro bono service. GBELS benefited from an extra staff attorney -- always inexperienced. And we, the young associates, could practice representing clients and appearing in court, without risking our inexperience on the firm's paying clients.

Read More

Topics: elder law

7 Solutions If You Transferred Assets Within 5 Years of Moving to a Nursing Home

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 24, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently received the following inquiry from a colleague:

I’m working with a client whose mother has been self-pay in a nursing home for several months as she spends down her savings. They applied for MassHealth in January and they anticipate she’ll run out of funds by mid-March. There’s the possibility that they will incur a penalty period since in June 2012, their mother gave about $80k to her daughter.

My understanding is that the lookback period is 5 years and that period begins on the date the application was filed, as opposed to when she will become eligible for Medicaid once her money is spent down. Is that understanding correct? The family just needs to know what to expect and is considering asking the sister to recoup the cost but wish to avoid undue conflict if possible.

Read More

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

Who Should Build a Wall? Mexican Life Expectancy to Equal that in the US by 2030

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 17, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Healthy americans.jpgAccording to an article in The Lancet, average life expectancy at birth may reach 90 in South Korea by 2030, but not in the United States where life expectancy actually declined from 2014 to 2015, the first time that has occurred in more than two decades. While the decline, according to the National Center for Health Statistics was small, from 76.5 to 76.3 years for men and from 81.3 to 81.2 for women, it's one of many bad signs about health in the United States.

Read More

Topics: growth of elderly population

ABLE Opens in Massachusetts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 10, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

disabled man.jpgGood news: On May 10th Massachusetts launched its ABLE program, named The Attainable Savings Plan, to allow people who become disabled to save money, tax-free, and have more financial freedom than they have had in decades. 

An ABLE account allows donors to put up to $14,000 into the account per year, to grow tax-free. Even more important than the tax benefits, the money in the account, up to $100,000, is not counted when determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and MassHealth.  In other words, a person can have up to $100,000 in an Able Account and still be considered to have less than $2,000 in assets, thereby qualifying for SSI and MassHealth.

Read More

Topics: ABLE Accounts, SSI, Attainable Savings Plan

Appeals Court Confirms Use of POAs in Life Estate Deeds

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 10, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

A life estate is a deed that divides ownership by time. The "life tenant" has full rights to the property during his life, but at his death full rights pass to the "remaindermen." Both the life tenant and the remaindermen are owners of the property, but their interests are different.

Read More

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

Special Needs Trusts and Retirement Benefits: A Complicated Subject

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 5, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

older parent and child.jpgMuch of your savings may be in your 401(k)’s and IRAs.  It is important to designate the proper beneficiaries for these accounts, so that your beneficiaries do not have to pay taxes on the funds prematurely. Unfortunately when a beneficiary has special needs, it gets complicated.

If the beneficiary receives the IRAs and 401(k)’s directly, the required minimum distributions (RMDs) could prevent your child from receiving the government benefits he needs. But if you designate a special needs trust as the beneficiary of a retirement account, there could be adverse income tax consequences. 

Fortunately, with proper drafting, such tax results usually can be prevented. People have written entire books on this subject -- this is our attempt to summarize the basic issues.           

Read More

Topics: Special Needs Trust, Retirement Planning, Retirement Benefits, Required Minimum Distributions

ABLE Accounts Preserve Food Stamp Eligibility

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 4, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

Child and food.jpgA final rule has been issued that states money in an ABLE account is not counted for purposes of determining SNAP eligibility. Up until now, funds in ABLE accounts were not specifically excluded from eligibility calculations for SNAP benefits. That changed on March 7, 2017, when the amendment went into effect.

Read More

Topics: SNAP Eligibility, ABLE Accounts, Food Stamps, MassHealth, SNAP Benefits

Low Dementia Growth Predicted for Massachusetts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 3, 2017

older coupleBy Jamie Marshall

The Alzheimer’s Association has released its annual report of facts and figures about the disease, reporting that 5.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, 200,000 of whom are below age 65.

Most of those with Alzheimer’s, 82 percent, are 75 or older, with more of these between 75 and 84 than those 85 and older. This contrasts with a similar article I wrote six years ago, when most people with Alzheimer's were 85 and over. I assume this has to do with changing demographics: there are relatively few Americans in the older cohort because they were born during the baby bust of the Depression -- 85 years ago was 1932. This trend will continue for another decade and a half, and then the "older old" population will skyrocket as the oldest Baby Boomers start reaching the 85 year old threshold beginning in 2031.

Read More

Topics: baby boomers, dementia, Massachusetts

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 him 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.  

Read More

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

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.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Attorney- Client Relationship

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all