Planning for Life

Harry S. Margolis

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10 Questions to Ask an Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 11, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

You need to consult with an elder law attorney for either advance long-term care planning for yourself or advance long-term care planning for a loved one. You have a few names of possible attorneys that you got from friends, relatives, other advisors and the Internet. How do you determine which one to hire?

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

6 Stories Tell the Unpredictability and Challenges of Aging

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 4, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

John Leland, reporter for The New York Times has been following six elderly New Yorkers this year as they face the challenges of aging. In some ways, New York is an ideal place to get old since services are easy to come by -- for instance, groceries and restaurants deliver. But in others, we learn, New York creates its own difficulties. Let's meet the six older New Yorkers.

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Topics: long-term care planning, growth of elderly population, assisted living

Obesity Decline a Good Omen for Elder Care

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 28, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Years ago, I interviewed Dr. Robert Butler, the father of gerontology, for a podcast series I had at the time. With complete self-interest, I asked how he thought Baby Boomers would fare as they aged, fully expecting a bright future as the result of our athleticism and the benefits of good health care. I was surprised at his response that Baby Boomers as a group could look forward to a miserable old age due to obesity.

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Topics: long-term care planning, baby boomers

Incentive Trusts: Long Arm of the Dead?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 14, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Many affluent parents are concerned about the effect of leaving any wealth to their children and grandchildren. In some instances, they fear that the recipients will misspend the funds on drugs, fancy cars or failing businesses. In other cases, their fear is simply that their children will simply lose their drive to achieve and overcome barriers that may present themselves if there's no financial necessity to do so. (See my blog on Should You Stiff Your Kids?)

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Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

Should You Disinherit Your Kids?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 7, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Lucas and even Sting won't be giving their millions and billions to their children. Instead, the bulk of their estates will be going to charity. According to an article on CNBC.com, this is not because they don't love their children or just because they think that there are others in the world more in need of their support, but also because they don't want to undermine their children's initiative. Apparently Bill and Melinda Gates, who are worth $79 billion, plan to leave each of their children $10 million, certainly enough to live on, but not enough to purchase several mansions and a Lear jet.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

5 Tips on Hiring a Lawyer

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 30, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

So, you need a lawyer, for an elder law issue such as long-term care planning or guardianship, for estate planning, an employment matter, litigation, a personal injury, or your'e starting a new business. How do you find the right attorney for you? What's most important to you -- reputation, price, location, experience, age, ethnicity, religion? There are a lot of lawyers out there and your choice can make all the difference between a good experience with successful results and a poor experience that does not help you reach your goals.

So, here are some ideas on how to start:

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Topics: Legal profession

How Should Fees for Estate Planning Be Set?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 23, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

No one wants to pay more than they think is reasonable for anything, whether that be food, a car, or estate planning. But what's reasonable? That's often in the eye of the beholder.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

Why Won't People Pay for Financial Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 9, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you know the answers to these questions?

  • What is a variable annuity and should you have one?
  • How much money do you need to retire?
  • Do you need life insurance and, if so, how much? Term or whole life?
  • What's the cost of your 401(k) plan? Or your mutual funds?
  • What's the best 529 plan for your children or grandchildren?
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Topics: financial planning

4 Models for Attorney-Client Advising

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 26, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Earlier in the year in a blog post titled How Pushy Should Attorneys Be?, I described how my practice has evolved over the years in terms of being more likely to push my opinion on clients than I would have customarily in my earlier career. Since then, I have read Atul Gawande's Being Mortal in which he describes the trend towards a more collaborative relationship between doctors and patients and attended a talk by Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think, who proposes that professionals should give their clients space to think through their decisions so that they come to the right solution themselves.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Barreira Provides Guidance on MassHealth Appeals

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 19, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

At the most recent annual MCLE conference on elder and disability law (which I co-chaired), Brian Barreira of Plymouth provided advice on preparing for a MassHealth fair hearing,5809877 both in terms of being successful at the hearing and in order to build a strong record in case a 30A appeal to superior court becomes necessary. He was speaking in the context of much inconsistency by MassHealth in its treatment of irrevocable trusts and its practice of not explaining what it finds wrong in a trust until the fair hearing itself.

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Topics: MassHealth

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