Planning for Life

10 Steps You Can Take to Avoid Elder Financial Abuse

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 1, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Seniors often become susceptible to financial abuse as the result of increased dependency due to illness, disability or cognitive impairments. They also often have a nest egg that they've accumulated over decades which can make them a target for predators, whether an offshore bogus sweepstakes or a care provider who sees an opportunity to be paid more than an hourly wage.

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Topics: Estate Planning, financial planning, elder law

The Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 16, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

While two of our blog posts on life estates and durable powers of attorney (see the links on the right) get far more traffic than all others (they must have gotten greenlighted by Google in some fashion), following are the most popular articles we posted in 2015.

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

What's Wrong with LegalZoom and RocketLawyer?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 12, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Nothing. Both LegalZoom and RocketLawyer create great legal forms. They should; they have the resources to hire first-rate lawyers to draft them. But the estate planning (or corporate) document is just one product of any legal representation.

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Topics: Estate Planning

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

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