Planning for Life

Does an Annuity Make Sense for Retirement Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

There are two kinds of annuities: variable and immediate. Both can be useful for retirement planning purposes and both can be misused. Variable annuities have gotten a bad reputation in recent years because they are often sold to people, especially seniors, for whom they are inappropriate. Immediate annuities, on the other hand, may be undersold.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

Some Sobering Statistics, Especially for Baby Boomers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 24, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

For most people, putting off estate planning until they're older does not present a problem. The odds are that they'll be alive and healthy for the foreseeable future. But for Baby Boomers, these odds are changing rapidly.

I developed the following (somewhat morbid) table from Social Security Administration actuarial data (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html) to reflect the chances of dying in any 10-year period. As you can see, it is quite small before age 50, especially for women, but then increases dramatically, essentially doubling each decade.

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Topics: baby boomers, Estate Planning

Organ Donation Saves Lives - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 20, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Ill patients die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Even more continue to live curtailed lives. According to the New England Organ Bank, there are 120,000 Americans are waiting for organs right now. More than 6,000 die each year waiting for a transplant. The death of one person who has signed up as an organ donor can save seven lives through donated organs and many more through donated tissue.

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Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning, anatomical gift

Why Are Durable Powers of Attorney So Long?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 13, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Durable powers of attorney, as well as other legal documents, seem to go on for many more pages than necessary. This especially seems odd in the case of durable powers of attorney which are simply delegations of legal rights and powers from one person to another. Why can't I simply say:

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Topics: Estate Planning

How to Fleece an Estate . . . or Giving Lawyers a Bad Name

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 6, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

A Boston estate planning attorney recently received a public reprimand from the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) for overcharging an estate and stretching out its administration for more than seven years. In 2003, Kenneth L. Harvey, an attorney with Holland & Knight in Boston, met with an elderly client and two of her sons. The client executed a will and a trust naming Attorney Harvey as trustee and executor. She passed away later that year.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning, probate

5@55: The Essential Estate Planning Documents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 29, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

What estate planning documents do you need and by when do you need them? Brooklyn elder law and estate planning attorney Judith D. Grimaldi along with her co-author, Joanne Seminara, answer this question in their new book, 5@55: The 5 Essential Documents You Need by Age 55. They make the case that for baby boomers, now's the time.

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Topics: baby boomers, Estate Planning

Should Non-Lawyers Own Law Firms?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Under the professional ethical rules governing the practice of law, law firms cannot have non-lawyer owners or investors. The theory behind this restriction is that nonlawyer owners would not be bound by the professional rules of lawyers and could influence their lawyer employees to violate those rules. Of course, lawyers already work for nonlawyers as in house general counsel to corporations and non-profit organizations, but in those cases their employer is also their client, so no conflicts arise.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

Incentive Trusts: Long Arm of the Dead?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 14, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Many affluent parents are concerned about the effect of leaving any wealth to their children and grandchildren. In some instances, they fear that the recipients will misspend the funds on drugs, fancy cars or failing businesses. In other cases, their fear is simply that their children will simply lose their drive to achieve and overcome barriers that may present themselves if there's no financial necessity to do so. (See my blog on Should You Stiff Your Kids?)

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Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

Should You Disinherit Your Kids?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 7, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Lucas and even Sting won't be giving their millions and billions to their children. Instead, the bulk of their estates will be going to charity. According to an article on CNBC.com, this is not because they don't love their children or just because they think that there are others in the world more in need of their support, but also because they don't want to undermine their children's initiative. Apparently Bill and Melinda Gates, who are worth $79 billion, plan to leave each of their children $10 million, certainly enough to live on, but not enough to purchase several mansions and a Lear jet.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Grandchildren

How Should Fees for Estate Planning Be Set?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 23, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

No one wants to pay more than they think is reasonable for anything, whether that be food, a car, or estate planning. But what's reasonable? That's often in the eye of the beholder.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

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