Planning for Life

Harry S. Margolis

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When is the Right Time to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 10, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The other day, I met with a long-term care insurance broker who bemoaned the quicker timetable of estate planning attorneys as compared to the underwriting process for long-term care insurance (LTCI). He reported that in his experience most estate planners try to complete the process from first meeting to executing the ultimate documents in about five weeks. It takes longer than that for an application for LTCI to be approved or rejected by insurance companies who will only sell policies to healthy applicants.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care insurance

Digital Estate Planning: Who Should Have Access to Your On-line Accounts?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 3, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Facebook has recently implemented a legacy contact to give an individual you name access to some aspects of your Facebook account after you pass away. Google instituted a similar Inactive Account Manager in 2013. Both are responses to an increasingly common dilemma as individuals pass away "owning" many Internet accounts and identities.

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Topics: Estate Planning

How Pushy Should Attorneys Be?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 10, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

When I was in law school I took part in a clinic that taught us lawyering skills as an adjunct to the substantive law taught in the other classes. The clinic taught a theory of client counseling that I have moved away from in my actual practice. We were taught to empower clients by explaining the legal consequences of particular choices they might make and based on the information that we provide to leave to the clients to decide how to proceed.

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Topics: Estate Planning

5 Reasons Why Disinheritance is Not a Viable Option for Special Needs Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 2, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Some parents of children with special needs choose to disinherit such children for a number of reasons. They recognize that leaving funds directly to such children (who very well may be adults now) could cause a number difficulties. Their children may lose eligibility for important public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, MassHealth or subsidized housing. In many instances, their children would not be able to manage the funds and would be susceptible to losing the funds to financial predators or simply bad decisionmaking. Other parents reason that their other children will take care of the child with special needs or that the child has no need of funds since public programs are providing for her adequately.

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Topics: special needs planning

How to Protect an Inherited IRA

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 27, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

If you leave a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA) to your spouse, he will be able to roll it in with her own IRA and it will be subject to the same rules regarding minimum required distributions (MRDs) as apply to his own retirement plans. He'll have to begin taking them in the year after he turns 70 1/2. In addition, he will receive the same creditor protection that his other retirement accounts receive, which is that they are protected from creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.

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Topics: asset protection, Retirement Planning

How Much Does MassHealth Pay Nursing Homes?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 20, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Families of nursing home residents often want to know what MassHealth is paying for the care of their loved ones. This can be difficult to determine because the rates are different for each facility and for each patient, depending on his or her level of care. But it's important because MassHealth often has a right to recover its expenses at the death of the nursing home resident in the form of a claim for estate recovery against a home, as the beneficiary of an annuity, or under the terms of a (d)(4)(A) or (d)(4)(C) trust.It helps to know what to expect.

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

5 Steps to Avoid Outliving Your Money

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 13, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The first issue of a new UBS publication, Your Wealth & Life, focuses on "Navigating longevity," or how to make sure your savings and investments last as long as you do. This is especially important as our odds of living long -- and long after retirement -- increase. Half of today's 65-year-olds will live to 85 or older; women have almost a one in three chance of living to age 90; and for a couple there's a 50% chance that one of the spouses will live to age 90 or beyond.

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Topics: social security, Retirement Planning

5 Estate Planning Tips for the Non-Nuclear Family

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 6, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you have a Leave It to Beaver family -- two opposite-gender parents, one or more kids, all healthy and thriving? If so, you can probably use an pretty standard, off-the-shelf estate plan. But if not, it's not as simple and you have a lot of company.

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Topics: Estate Planning, second marriage

How to Tailor Your Asset Protection Trust

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 30, 2014

By Harry S, Margolis

Traditional trust law permits parents to leave funds for their children and grandchildren in a way that protects the inherited assets from creditors, double estate taxation, in the event of divorce, and from being lost to in laws in the event of the death of a child. Depending on which of these goals the the grantor of the trust seeks to achieve, the trust must have one or more features that restrict access and control by the beneficiaries.

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Topics: asset protection

Why is Long-Term Care Planning So Complicated?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 23, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

I've been thinking about why long-term care planning is so complicated. The reason is that the future can take so many paths, from no need for care to a long-term nursing home placement, with one or more stops in between. The difficulty of predicting how we will fare is compounded when considering planning for a couple rather than for a single individual.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes

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