Planning for Life

Why Pirates Wore Earrings

Posted by Maggie Lorenzo on February 13, 2013

By Nikki Marie Oliveira

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Topics: end-of-life, Estate Planning

MOLST Provides End-of-Life Control - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 12, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: end-of-life, Estate Planning, health-care decision making

Estate Planning Attorneys Beware Redux - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 8, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Estate Planning

Estate Planning Attorneys Beware -- Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 29, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Massachusetts, Estate Planning

How to Avoid Problems as a Trustee - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 12, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning

Prenuptial Agreements and Medicaid - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 27, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: MassHealth, second marriage, long-term care planning, Estate Planning

Beware Too Specific Language in Special Needs Trusts - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 3, 2012

ID 61410328 © Yiorgosgr | Dreamstime.comBy Harry S. Margolis

There's been a long debate among practitioners of special needs planning about how specific to make trust language governing the distributions to or on behalf of the beneficiary. The trend is to be less specific, giving the trustee wide discretionary on whether and how to make trust distributions.

There have been at least three points of view with regard to special needs trust (SNT) drafting:

  • Restrictive.  This approach is to limit distributions to only those items and purposes approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as not affecting eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The fear is that if more general language is used, such as for the beneficiary's health and maintenance, the SSA may require that the funds be used for such purposes and consider them available to the beneficiary, rendering him ineligible for SSI, which in many states would mean the loss of Medicaid as well.

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Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning

5 Issues to Consider When Creating a Special Needs Trust - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 5, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

While day-to-day obligations can certainly get in the way, at some point as a parent of a child with special needs you will need to create a special needs trust to shelter and manage whatever you may leave the child.  This is the only safe way to make sure that the funds you leave are protected and well managed and that the child, who by then is probably an adult, can continue to qualify for vital public benefits.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Here are some of the questions you will need to consider in guiding their attorney to create the trust:

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Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning, trusts

What Can Jim Morrison’s Simple Will Teach Us About Estate Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 29, 2012

By Jeffrey A. Bloom

It’s a bit of ancient history, but Jim Morrison’s will highlights a misunderstanding in estate planning that is still common today -- what happens to the balance of a bequest when the beneficiary dies.  The Doors lead singer’s will provided that his entire estate would pass to his girlfriend Pamela Courson, provided she survived him by three months.  If she didn’t, then his property would instead pass to his brother and sister.  Well, his girlfriend did survive Morrison by three months, but by less then three years.  And when she died in 1974, Morrison’s property all passed to the girlfriend’s parents –- not his parents or brother and sister.

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Topics: Estate Planning

What is a Life Estate and Why Would You Want One? - Massachusetts

Posted by Maggie Lorenzo on April 9, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

What is a life estate?

            The term “life estate” refers to property that is owned by an individual only through the duration of his or her lifetime. Therefore, it’s always for an indefinite period of time.  We usually encounter life estates when dealing with real estate.  When you have a life estate, you are called the “life tenant.”  For example, you can sell or give your home to your children, but retain a “life estate,” thereby reserving the right to live in, use, enjoy, and control the home until you die.  Your children would be called the “remaindermen.”   

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Topics: long-term care planning, Estate Planning

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