Planning for Life

Five Myths about How We Age

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on August 1, 2016

According to Stanford Professor Laura L. Carstensen, the 20th century bequeathed us a fabulous gift:  an average of 30 more years of life!  Life expectancy at birth is now 78, whereas in the early 1900s it was only about 50.  Today there are more than 70,000 centenarians in the U.S., roughly four times the number there were just ten years ago.  We need to think about those extra decades, and how we want to spend them (and how we plan to afford them). 

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Topics: baby boomers

Beta Test the Latest Innovation in Estate Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 20, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Up until now, you've had two options for your estate planning: Go to a do-it-yourself site like LegalZoom or work with an attorney who will customize your plan to meet your circumstances. Most people are afraid to fly solo online and many feel that they do not need the one-on-one attention, or cost, of an attorney. That's why we are creating a third option.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, will in massachusetts

MassHealth Imposing Asset Limit on Community Spouse of Frail Elder Waiver Applicants in Fall 2016

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on July 18, 2016

We anticipate a significant change coming this fall for married elders seeking eligibility for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver in Massachusetts.  The Commonwealth is very likely to begin imposing an asset limit of $119,220 for the community spouse of HCBS waivers.  There is currently no asset limit for the community spouse of applicants for the HCBS waiver.  This will apply to new HCBS applicants and HCBS waiver applicants who started receiving benefits beginning January 1, 2014. 

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Topics: MassHealth

10 Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 13, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Estate planning attorneys always advise clients to review their estate plans every five to ten years, but who does that? Most people prepare an estate plan when they have children, again when they near retirement, and finally when and if they or a spouse becomes ill or begins to show signs of dementia. If you prepare and update your plan at these three junctures, you and your family will probably be in good shape. But if you don't, there's a strong likelihood that your documents will be out-of-date when needed, causing extra cost, delay and stress to your family.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Philadelphia Franklin Institute has Egg on its Face in Disability Lawsuit

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 11, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Michael Anderson, a 35-year-old quadripalegic man who needs the assistance of a personal care attendant (PCA), asked the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia's science museum, to waive the entrance fee for his PCA. They refused. When he ultimately brought suit, the Franklin Institute, which was originally funded by Benjamin Franklin, moved to dismiss the case arguing that Anderson had no claim under the Americans with Disability Act (the ADA). This left the federal judge who ruled in Anderson's favor entirely perplexed:

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Topics: disability

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 ,

Victory for Special Needs Trusts and Section 8 in DeCambre

Posted by Karen Mariscal on June 20, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

On June 14th,  the First Circuit in the seminal (and very local) case DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority, reversed the decision of the lower court, and held that distributions of principal from a special needs trust are NOT counted as income for purposes of Section 8 calculations.  This is the correct decision, in our view, and a significant victory for the disabled population, with nation-wide implications. 

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Topics: special needs planning, housing policy ,, supplemental needs trusts

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