Planning for Life

Harry S. Margolis

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Oldest American and Massachusetts Resident Passes Away

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 11, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

We reported in a recent blog post (To Live Really Long, Be Female and Japanese) on the 50 oldest humans worldwide. Eleventh on that list was Goldie Michelson of Worcester. She passed away last Friday at age 113. She would have turned 114 on August 8th. She graduated from college in 1924 and received a masters degree in sociology from Clark University in Worcester in 1936.  

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Topics: elder law

Care Management Pioneer Passes Away

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 5, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

We were very sorry to learn last week that Helen Kass, the first director of Creative Alliance at Sherrill House in Jamaica Plain, has passed away at age 82 from leukemia and cancer. Most geriatric care managers are individual practitioners. This was especially true in the early days of the profession. So, it was a unique enterprise when Sherrill House, a non-profit nursing home based in Jamaica Plain, introduced its own care management service with Ms. Kass in the lead.

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Topics: caregiving

To Live Really Long, Be Female and Japanese

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 28, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

According to the website of the Gerontology Research Group, of the 50 oldest people living today, 48 are women and almost half -- 24 -- are Japanese. The United States comes in second with eight so-called supercentenarians -- people 110 or older -- of whom one was also born in Japan. The oldest American is currently Goldie Michelson, a Massachusetts resident born in Russia who will turn 114 on August 8th. She currently ranks 11th in the world. Number 12 is also American, Adele Dunlap of New Jersey who will be 114 on December 12th.

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Topics: growth of elderly population

A Tale of Two Americas

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 21, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, a look at the US economy reflects that it's the best of times for some Americans and the worst for others. We've heard a lot about increasing inequality with the top 1 percent of citizens getting a bigger and bigger share of income and wealth, but as economist Doug Poutasse explained in a presentation at our June First Monday lunch, some cities and regions in the US are doing much better than others. Fortunately for us (except in terms of housing costs), the Boston metropolitan area is one of those more dynamic regions.

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Topics: housing policy ,

Beware Your Old Bypass Trust

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 7, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Very few people need to worry about federal estate taxes today with the threshold for taxation now at $5.45 million (in 2016) and surviving spouses permitted to add on the unused portion of their deceased spouse's credit through "portability." Yet many people have estate tax planning trusts put in place when the threshold was much lower and before portability was enacted. As recently as 2003 the threshold was $1 million and before 1998 it was just $600,000.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, capital gains taxes

Little-Known Social Security Benefit for Parents of Disabled Children

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 17, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

One of our clients recently brought to our attention a Social Security benefit that was news to us. He and his wife care for their adult daughter with a disability in their home. Our client retired and began receiving Social Security benefits. As a result, his daughter was able to drop her Supplemental Security Income and switch over to Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), a much better benefit for a number of reasons.

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Topics: social security, disability

See the US Population Age Before Your Eyes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 10, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Check out the dynamic graph below that represents the US age distribution from 1933 to 2100. It starts as a narrow pyramid with a relatively even age distribution narrowing as it gets to older ages. Then it takes on an arrowhead shape as the dearth of births during the Depression begins to work its way up through the ages.

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Topics: growth of elderly population

Bowie Yes, Prince No: More Lessons from Celebrity Estates

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 3, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Estate Planning

The Future of Law According to LegalZoom

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 26, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently heard Chas Rampenthal, the general counsel of LegalZoom, the legal forms site, speak at Suffolk University Law School on how the practice of law needs to be modernized and made more efficient, accessible and affordable. He joined many commentators, most notably Richard Susskind who wrote The End of Lawyers?, in describing the practice of law as being behind the times, lawyers crafting single solutions for individual clients, which by its nature is expensive and inefficient.

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Topics: Legal profession

The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 19, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Caring for others who are physically or mentally incapable of taking care of themselves is a daunting task. On top of the physical and emotional strain, making personal and health care decisions for another person in circumstances that you haven't discussed in advance compounds the burden.

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Topics: caregiving

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