Planning for Life

Rebecca J Benson

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Consumer Disclosures Now Mandated for Assisted Living Residents

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on January 14, 2019

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Effective January 1, 2019, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) requires all Massachusetts assisted living providers to provide a standard consumer disclosure statement with each new residency contract.  According to a Memorandum from EOEA, the mandated disclosure is intended to explain issues that are often overlooked or misunderstood when people choose to move into assisted living, particularly issues of fees and services that are included (or not included) in the agreement.  Among other things, the disclosure states that assisted living residences are not the same as nursing homes, cannot provide skilled care and are not required to have nurses on-site. 

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Topics: assisted living regulations, assisted living

Protecting the Rights of Massachusetts Voters with Disabilities

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on October 19, 2018

By Rebecca J. Benson

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About 35 million eligible voters in the U.S. have a disability – close to one in six. Although voting is one of the most fundamental rights granted to American citizens, nearly a third of voters with disabilities reported facing obstacles to voting in the 2012 election, including difficulties with physical access to the polling place, reading the ballot or operating the voting machine.

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Topics: disability, voting rights

Your Must-Have Checklist if You Need Guardianship When Your Child with Special Needs Turns 18

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on January 30, 2018

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By Rebecca J. Benson

Every child automatically becomes an “adult” in the eyes of the law as soon as the child turns 18 – an unnerving thought for many parents.  Parents of a special needs child need to consider whether their child will need a legal guardian, even after turning 18.  Our comprehensive “how-to” checklist will help you determine whether guardianship is needed and outline the steps for obtaining the necessary Massachusetts court appointment:

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Topics: guardianship, special needs planning, disability, Special Needs Child, proxy

CMS Protects Nursing Home Residents’ Right to a Jury Trial

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on October 17, 2016

Frail nursing home residents and their stressed family members are routinely asked to sign a stack of densely-printed documents at the time of admission, without adequate time to review them or consult with counsel. They often do not realize that the agreements include binding arbitration provisions. Although this might sound benign, arbitration requires a waiver of the fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial, even if the resident later suffers serious injury, medical malpractice, or wrongful death. 

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Topics: long-term care planning

Health Care Agents Cannot Bind Nursing Home Residents to Arbitration

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on September 9, 2014

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled that an agent named in a health care proxy lacks authority to agree to arbitration on behalf of a nursing home resident in a wrongful death case. Barrow v. Dartmouth Nursing Home (Mass App. Court No. 13P-1375, August 18, 2014). The Court noted that the Supreme Judicial Court had recently defined the standards for authorizing arbitration agreements and distinguished them from other forms of agency authority, including those governing health care proxies and the signing of ordinary nursing home admission agreements. Johnson v. Kindred Health Care (Mass., No. SJC-11335, Jan. 13, 2014); and Licata v. GGNSC Malden Dexter LLC (Mass., No. SJC-11336, Jan 13, 2014) (Click here to learn more about the agreements).

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, Estate Planning

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