Planning for Life

Grandfather May Intervene in Granddaughter's Guardianship

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 13, 2016

By Kate English

In a recent guardianship decision, Guardianship of B.V.G., 474 Mass 315 (2016), the Supreme Judicial Court holds that an “interested person” may have standing to intervene in an incapacitated adult’s welfare even if he isn’t an “heir-at-law.”
                

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Topics: guardianship

Congress Passes Special Needs Fairness Act

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 9, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

As part of the 21st Century Cures Act which passed last week, Congress  has finally corrected a glitch in the law dating back to 1993. Back then, Congress authorized the creation of so-called (d)(4)(A) trusts which permit people with disabilities under age 65 to shelter funds and still qualify for Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) and Supplemental Security Income. A quirk in the law has required these trusts to be created by a parent, grandparent, guardian or court, even if the beneficiary is competent to create the trust herself. This has limited the availability of these trusts and required expensive proceedings in court which have often delayed eligibility for vital public benefits.

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Topics: trusts, special needs planning

Announcing the Creation of the Trump Policy Analysis Group Focusing on Older Americans and Individuals with Special Needs

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 7, 2016

Five leading elder law attorneys have created theTrump Policy Analysis Group (TPAG)[1] to consider probable changes in law that will affect older Americans and those with special needs.  Initially TPAG will focus on entitlements, public benefits, tax, special needs planning, and veterans’ benefits.

TPAG Members and Experience

Michael Gilfix of Palo Alto, California, A. Frank Johns of Greensboro, North Carolina, Harry S. Margolis of Boston, Tim Nay of Portland, Oregon, and Vincent J. Russo of Long Beach, New York, together have over 160 years experience advising individuals and families and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tax, long-term care, veterans’ benefits, and special needs planning.  They are established authors, speakers, and experts and include founders and leaders of national organizations, including the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, addressing the needs of aging and vulnerable populations.

Following is their initial analysis.

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Topics: Medicare, social security, income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, Medicaid

Benson, Bloom and Margolis are (Still) Super Lawyers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2016

Margolis & Bloom’s Rebecca J. Benson, Jeffrey A. Bloom and Harry S. Margolis have again been named among the 17 Massachusetts Super Lawyers in elder law and 30 in New England. Just 5 percent of lawyers are given this designation.

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Topics: super lawyers

Is Anyone Entitled to an Inheritance?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 30, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

David Karofsky of the Transition Consulting Group, who advises family businesses on succession planning, recently wrote about cases of entitlement he has run across in his business and elsewhere. They include:

The woman who was overheard talking on her cellphone about her father who had more than enough money with his three houses. She and her siblings, she said, had to take control of his finances so that he did not "waste" them before they got passed down to her generation.

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 29, 2016

by Karen B. Mariscal, Esq. 

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Income).  Although SSI and SSDI both provide supplemental income to disabled people, and have similar names, they are completely different programs.

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Topics: special needs planning

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean to Estate and Long-Term Care Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 22, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

The election of Donald Trump along with Republican control of both houses of Congress undoubtedly will impact tax and benefit laws that affect citizens in their personal lives and in their estate and long-term care planning. The question is how? We can't answer for certain since during his campaign the president-elect stayed away from specific policy proposals. But there's still a lot we can glean both from what he has said and from Republican policies, especially those of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On the domestic front, Ryan appears much more radical than Trump in many ways.

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Topics: Medicare, social security, MassHealth, capital gains taxes, capital gains, estate taxes, Medicaid

The Massachusetts Estate Tax on Out-of-State Real Estate: Conflict, Quandary, and New Court Ruling

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 22, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

If a Massachusetts resident dies owning real estate outside of the state or the country, can Massachusetts tax it in your estate? If you look at Massachusetts law, the answer is "yes." This is because the Massachusetts estate tax is calculated as the federal estate tax credit that was available under the federal estate tax in place back in 2000. Since the federal taxable estate includes all the decedent's property wherever held, the Massachusetts tax does as well.

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Topics: Probate Estate Administration, estate taxes

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

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