Planning for Life

Appeals Court Confirms Use of POAs in Life Estate Deeds

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 10, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

A life estate is a deed that divides ownership by time. The "life tenant" has full rights to the property during his life, but at his death full rights pass to the "remaindermen." Both the life tenant and the remaindermen are owners of the property, but their interests are different.

Read More

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

7 Reasons You Should Consider A QTIP Trust

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 26, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

older married couple with lawyer.jpgSo, what's a QTIP trust? "QTIP" stands for qualified terminable interest property. Total legal gobbledygook, right? So forget the words. What it means is a trust that you leave for your spouse that gives him the right to all of the income and limits his right to the principal. Those limits can be total, meaning no right to principal, or minor, meaning simply limited by the HEMS standard (for health, education, maintenance and financial security) or fully available but controlled by a trustee other than your spouse.  

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes, asset protection, trusts

Talk to Your Client, or Face the Consequences

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 19, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

An experienced Massachusetts attorney was recently admonished by the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) for steps he took to protect his client, steps he took without contacting her directly. (Admonition No. 17-06)

The lawyer, who is unnamed in the admonition, but who we'll call Lawyer A, received a call from another attorney who asked Lawyer A to turn over the client's files. The new attorney said that the client, an elderly woman, had now hired him. Lawyer A called the woman's daughter, who was named on her mother's durable power of attorney.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Attorney- Client Relationship

A Different Approach to Estate Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 12, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I had lunch the other day with Vincent Bonazzoli of the Family Estate Planning Law Group in Lynnfield. He has a different approach to estate planning representation that may work better for many attorneys and their clients than more traditional forms of estate planning.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Legal profession

Beware the Mass Estate Tax at the Threshold

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 25, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

While the threshold for the federal estate tax is $5.49 million this year, the Massachusetts threshold is $1 million. Fortunately, the Massachusetts rates are much lower than the federal rate, graduated from 0.8% to 16% on estates exceeding $10 million, a flat 40%. (For estates in the $1 million to $2 million range, the marginal rate is 6.4% or 7.2%.) Unfortunately, in Massachusetts if the estate exceeds that threshold, the entire estate gets taxed. The result is a much higher marginal rate.

Read More

Topics: estate taxes, Estate Planning

Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 18, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

When you consult with your financial advisor or planner, does she put your interests first, or is she simply under an obligation to sell products that are "appropriate"? If you don't know, ask.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, financial planning, Retirement Planning

Probate Court Upholds Beneficiary Designation: Attorney-in-fact Executed Documents for Her Own Benefit

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 23, 2016

When can an attorney-in-fact change an estate plan for her own benefit? When it's what the grantor or the durable power of attorney wants. In Giroux v. Laranjo, et al. (Bristol Probate Court Docket Nos. BR15F0006QC and BR13P2422EA, March 4, 2016), the court upholds the validity of a schedule of trust beneficiaries executed by Patricia A. Giroux as attorney-in-fact for Joseph A. Peixoto even though she stood to gain a considerable amount from its execution.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, trusts, Probate Estate Administration

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.

Read More

Topics: estate taxes, Estate 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%.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

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.

Read More

Topics: estate taxes, Estate Planning

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all