Planning for Life

What's a Trustee to Do? Providing Guidance

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 16, 2014

People set up trusts for all sorts of reasons: tax avoidance or reduction, financial management in the event of incapacity, probate avoidance, asset protection, and for a child with special needs, just to name a few. In these instruments, the person creating the trust -- the grantor or donor -- lays out all of the rules under which the person or institution managing the trust must operate. Oddly, trusts generally give the trustees little guidance on how to exercise their power to distribute trust income or principal to beneficiaries.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning

Health Care Agents Cannot Bind Nursing Home Residents to Arbitration

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on September 9, 2014

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled that an agent named in a health care proxy lacks authority to agree to arbitration on behalf of a nursing home resident in a wrongful death case. Barrow v. Dartmouth Nursing Home (Mass App. Court No. 13P-1375, August 18, 2014). The Court noted that the Supreme Judicial Court had recently defined the standards for authorizing arbitration agreements and distinguished them from other forms of agency authority, including those governing health care proxies and the signing of ordinary nursing home admission agreements. Johnson v. Kindred Health Care (Mass., No. SJC-11335, Jan. 13, 2014); and Licata v. GGNSC Malden Dexter LLC (Mass., No. SJC-11336, Jan 13, 2014) (Click here to learn more about the agreements).

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, Estate Planning

If You Have No Children, Hire a Lawyer for Your Estate Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 25, 2014

In my blog post last week I provided a checklist for determing whether you need a lawyer for your estate planning, hoping to help readers determine whether they have a "plain vanilla" situation and goals or whether their circumstances and wishes require attorney help.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Should You Use a Lawyer or LegalZoom for Your Estate Plan?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 20, 2014

While the goals of attorneys and their clients are supposed to be aligned, often they are not, or at least not completely. I've been thinking about what this means in the field of estate planning and how we can better serve our clients.To lay the groundwork, here are the premises I'm working with:

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

Will an iPhone be Admitted to Probate?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 1, 2014

As you no doubt know, your will governs who will receive your probate property when you pass away. Probate property essentially means property in your name alone as opposed to property you own with someone in joint names, property in trust, or property with a named beneficiary, such as a retirement plan.

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Topics: Estate Planning, probate

7 Issues to Consider When Choosing a Trustee

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 3, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning

The 3 Pitfalls of Joint Ownership for Estate Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 15, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning

Michelle Singletary Makes Plea for Durable Powers of Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 8, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Estate Planning

Beware Beneficiary Designations - Massachusetts Estate Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 25, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning

FAQs About Your Health Care Proxy - Massachusetts

Posted by Rachel Sandler on March 20, 2014

By Rebecca J. Benson

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Topics: incapacity, health-care decision making, Estate Planning

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