Planning for Life

Housing for Your Special Needs Child: A Legal and Personal Perspective

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on November 19, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

Most parents of special needs children keep their kids at home with them through the parents’ 40s, 50s, or even longer. Only about 15 percent of DDS (Department of Developmental Services) clients receive housing from the state when they turn 22, and those tend to be the most difficult cases – where the person cannot live safely on his own or with his parents. The rest are left to their own resources when it comes to housing. Their parents need know their options and think creatively about how best to provide for their loved ones as they age.

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Topics: special needs planning

Explaining the Inexplicable: The Massachusetts Estate Tax and Gifting

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 17, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

As you may know, the threshold for taxing estates in Massachusetts is $1 million, much less than the current $5.45 million threshold for federal estate taxes. In addition, unlike the federal estate tax which only taxes the excess over the threshold, if an estate exceeds $1 million the entire amount above $40,000 is taxed. Fortunately, the rate is substantially less, ranging from 0.8% to 16%, whereas the federal rate is 40%.

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits for Disabled Young Adults Living at Home

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 15, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

Massachusetts funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to assist low income households with affording food. While an individual can qualify for SNAP benefits upon reaching the majority age of 18, there are certain nuances that disabled young adults living at home with their parents should be aware of before applying for this program.

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Topics: special needs planning

Demented Patient Liable for Injuries He Causes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 15, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

In Mary Ellen Gioia v. Richard D. and Ann L. Ratner, the Essex County superior court in Massachusetts refuses to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a registered nurse who claims she was injured by a patient in her care. She brought the suit against the patient, Richard Ratner, and his wife and health care agent, Ann Ratner. Judge Diane M. Kottmyer rules that the suit against Mr. Ratner can move forward but dismisses the claim against his wife.

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Topics: caregiving, dementia, incapacity, seniors, deficit, hospital care, elder law

Margolis & Mariscal Chapter Published

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 15, 2016

Margolis & Bloom, LLP, is pleased to report that Harry Margolis and Karen Mariscal co-authored a chapter in the book, Drafting Irrevocable Trusts in Massachusetts,  revised in September 2016 and published by the Massachusetts Center for Legal Education.  Drafting Irrevocable Trusts in Massachusetts includes sections from nearly two dozen experts from the Commonwealth's estate planning community, and addresses the essential issues in drafting irrevocable trusts. Harry and Karen’s chapter concerns supplemental needs trusts.  The book can be purchased online at the MCLE website: http://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2050211EBK, and is also available on Amazon.   Read More

Topics: trusts

Adult Foster Care: Valuable Help for the Parents of Disabled Children

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 8, 2016

Adult Foster Care (a/k/a Adult Family Care), or AFC, is a MassHealth program that can help you with the caregiving of your disabled loved one. It is available to anyone age 16 or over who is on MassHealth or CommonHealth.

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Topics: special needs planning

Is Your Trust Subject to Massachusetts Income Tax?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 8, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Is your trust subject to Massachusetts income taxes? Probably it is. But probably it also pays no income tax so it doesn't matter. I'll explain the reasons why below.

In contrast, the 35 trusts in question in the case of Bank of America, N.A., vs. Commissioner of Revenue (SJC-11995, July 11, 2016), do have to pay income taxes. The Bank of America argued that when it acts as trustee its trusts should not be subject to Massachusetts income tax because (1) as a corporation it's not a "natural person" and (2) it doesn't have sufficient nexus with Massachusetts to be considered an "inhabitant" of the state for this purpose. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in this decision disagrees, upholding the decision of the Appellate Tax Board to tax the income of these trusts.

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Topics: trusts, income taxes

SJC Picks Up Two Irrevocable Trust Cases for Review

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 8, 2016

By Sarah Hartline

Earlier this year, we reported on two Superior Court decisions both involving irrevocable trusts created for long-term care planning purposes, Daley and Nadeau. In both cases, the Superior Court sided with MassHealth and upheld their decision to deny the applicant’s MassHealth application due to assets in an irrevocable trust, in both cases created by the applicant more than five years prior to the MassHealth application.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Protecting the Rights of Massachusetts Voters with Disabilities

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 1, 2016

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: special needs planning

Avoiding Massachusetts Taxes: So You Want  to Move to Florida?

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 1, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

If you've thought of establishing residence in Florida or another low-tax state to save on income and estate taxes, a recent New York state case sheds light on what steps you need to take. In the case of the Matter of Campaniello, the taxpayer, Thomas Campaniello had extremely high income, over $10 million in 2007, the year in question, including profits on the sale of real estate. This no doubt motivated him to seek to avoid New York state and city income taxes and motivated the New York tax authorities to go after him.

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

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