Planning for Life

Harry S. Margolis

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Your Likely Need and Cost of Long-Term Care

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 22, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

What are the chances that you will need long-term care, and what will it cost? These are huge questions in terms of retirement planning. Many older Americans can afford to live on their retirement income and savings as long as they don't have long-term care needs, but risk bankruptcy in the event they do need such care.

A recent Urban Institute study (with the wonky title "Microsimulation Analysis of Financing Options for Long-Term Services and Support") suggests some answers.

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Topics: long-term care planning, growth of elderly population, elder law

4 Ways to Protect Your House from MassHealth Estate Recovery: Part 1

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 15, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

In most instances, you can own a home and still get MassHealth coverage of your health or long-term care. While MassHealth has strict income and asset limits on eligibility, in most cases it doesn't count the home against those limits. On the other hand, as I often say, while they don't get you coming, they will get you going. If you sell the house either during your life or upon your death, MassHealth will seek to recover its costs of paying for your care.

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

Three Decades of Elder Law: My, How It's Changed!

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 8, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

attorneys_emily.jpg

 

Emily Starr, one of the pioneers of elder law in Massachusetts, and I have been asked to appear on a panel at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) this Thursday evening to discuss the history and prognosticate about the future of elder law in Massachusetts. Here are the major changes that I see:

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Topics: long-term care planning, growth of elderly population, MassHealth, elder law

Does an Annuity Make Sense for Retirement Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

There are two kinds of annuities: variable and immediate. Both can be useful for retirement planning purposes and both can be misused. Variable annuities have gotten a bad reputation in recent years because they are often sold to people, especially seniors, for whom they are inappropriate. Immediate annuities, on the other hand, may be undersold.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

Some Sobering Statistics, Especially for Baby Boomers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 24, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

For most people, putting off estate planning until they're older does not present a problem. The odds are that they'll be alive and healthy for the foreseeable future. But for Baby Boomers, these odds are changing rapidly.

I developed the following (somewhat morbid) table from Social Security Administration actuarial data (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html) to reflect the chances of dying in any 10-year period. As you can see, it is quite small before age 50, especially for women, but then increases dramatically, essentially doubling each decade.

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Topics: baby boomers, Estate Planning

Trust Reformation Causes MassHealth Penalty

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 3, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals in Needham v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass. App. Ct. 14-P-182, October 20, 2015) rules that the reformation of a trust causes a period of ineligibility for MassHealth coverage of nursing home care.

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

What to Do About Medicare Observation Status

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 27, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

As we have reported before, hospitals are more and more frequently designating patients as being in the facility for observation only without admitting them as full hospital patients. The problem with this has to do with the source of payment under Medicare and ultimately whether subsequent care in a skilled nursing facility will be Medicare covered.

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Topics: Medicare, residents rights

Organ Donation Saves Lives - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 20, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Ill patients die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Even more continue to live curtailed lives. According to the New England Organ Bank, there are 120,000 Americans are waiting for organs right now. More than 6,000 die each year waiting for a transplant. The death of one person who has signed up as an organ donor can save seven lives through donated organs and many more through donated tissue.

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Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning, anatomical gift

Why Are Durable Powers of Attorney So Long?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 13, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Durable powers of attorney, as well as other legal documents, seem to go on for many more pages than necessary. This especially seems odd in the case of durable powers of attorney which are simply delegations of legal rights and powers from one person to another. Why can't I simply say:

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Topics: Estate Planning

How to Fleece an Estate . . . or Giving Lawyers a Bad Name

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 6, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

A Boston estate planning attorney recently received a public reprimand from the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) for overcharging an estate and stretching out its administration for more than seven years. In 2003, Kenneth L. Harvey, an attorney with Holland & Knight in Boston, met with an elderly client and two of her sons. The client executed a will and a trust naming Attorney Harvey as trustee and executor. She passed away later that year.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning, probate

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