Planning for Life

M&B Attorneys Win Two MassHealth Trust Hearings

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 11, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

Applicants for MassHealth who have done advance planning involving sheltering assets in irrevocable trusts have been plagued by MassHealth denials of eligibility based on specious legal arguments. This results in fair hearing and court appeals that can sometimes take years. Two of our clients recently received favorable resolution of their cases before the MassHealth Board of Hearings.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

MassHealth Denial in Trust Case Overturned

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 20, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

In a case argued by Margolis & Bloom senior associate Sarah Hartline, the Essex Superior Court has overturned a MassHealth denial of coverage for a nursing home resident who MassHealth found had countable assets available from a trust she had created.attorney-sarah-foster-headshot-1.jpg

The trust in question in Yanow v. Office of Medicaid (Essex Sup. Ct. CA No. 1677CV00599, March 7, 2018), provided for the payment of income earned on trust assets to the grantor, but barred the distribution of any principal to her. Nevertheless, MassHealth argued that due to an administrative provision in the trust which permits the trustee "to determine what part of the trust property is income and what part is principal" the trustee was able to deem all of the trust property "income" and distribute it to the grantor (the applicant for MassHealth benefits).

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Topics: trusts, MassHealth

Why Most Married Nursing Home Residents Can Get MassHealth Coverage

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 20, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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Most married nursing home residents can obtain MassHealth coverage by using excess assets to purchase a qualifying immediate annuity. Rather, to be totally accurate, it's the spouse of the nursing home resident who must buy the annuity. The reason this works is that while MassHealth imposes limits on the amount of assets the nursing home resident and his spouse may own, there's no limit on the healthy spouse's income. This can be an important device to protect the financial security of spouses of nursing home residents.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Patricia C. D’Agostino Becomes Partner

Posted by Beth Cohen King on January 9, 2018

pcd_vertical.jpgWe are delighted to announce that Patricia C. D’Agostino has become a partner of our firm as of the first of the year.

“Tricia epitomizes both the vast breadth of knowledge that Margolis & Bloom pride ourselves in and the compassionate connection that we strive for with our clients,” said Harry S. Margolis, the firm’s founding partner. “For 10 years, our clients have benefited from Tricia’s down-to-earth approach to the practice of law. Her joining our partnership will further strengthen the firm.”

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Topics: MassHealth, Patricia C. D'Agostino, top women of law

If Your Trust Isn't Working, Don't Recant, Decant

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 19, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Two recent cases decided by the Supreme Judicial Court, Morse v. Kraft (466 Mass. 92, 2013) and Ferri v. Powell-Ferri (476 Mass. 651, 2017), have confirmed and arugably expanded the power of trustees to transfer trust assets to new trusts to better carry out the goals of the trust grantors in creating the trusts in the first place. iStock-177700114.jpgThe Ferri case permitted the trustee to transfer funds into a new, more restrictive trust even though the trust beneficiary had the right to withdraw the funds from the original trust, since the trustee had the power to distribute the funds to other beneficiaries.

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Topics: trusts, MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Trump-Ryan-McConnell Plan Takes Aim at Your Parents, and You

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 21, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

image-3.pngI generally try to avoid politics in my blog posts, but sometimes politics invade my field of long-term care planning. At this writing, the Republican leadership in the Senate is crafting its own version of Obamacare repeal. We don't know what it will look like, and 

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth, Medicaid

SJC Rejects MassHealth "Availability" Doctrine

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 5, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

In its long-awaited decision in the Daley and Nadeau cases released on May 30th, 2017 ( Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (Mass., No. SJC-12200, May 30, 2017) and Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass., No. SJC-12205, May 30, 2017)), the Supreme Judicial Court rules that MassHealth cannot count assets owned by irrevocable trusts as available to an applicant for MassHealth unless and only to the extent the trustee may distribute principal to the applicant or his or her spouse. MassHealth had argued that the right of the applicant or his or her spouse to use and occupy a residence owned by a trust makes it available and countable. 

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Topics: trusts, MassHealth planning, MassHealth

7 Solutions If You Transferred Assets Within 5 Years of Moving to a Nursing Home

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 24, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently received the following inquiry from a colleague:

I’m working with a client whose mother has been self-pay in a nursing home for several months as she spends down her savings. They applied for MassHealth in January and they anticipate she’ll run out of funds by mid-March. There’s the possibility that they will incur a penalty period since in June 2012, their mother gave about $80k to her daughter.

My understanding is that the lookback period is 5 years and that period begins on the date the application was filed, as opposed to when she will become eligible for Medicaid once her money is spent down. Is that understanding correct? The family just needs to know what to expect and is considering asking the sister to recoup the cost but wish to avoid undue conflict if possible.

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

ABLE Accounts Preserve Food Stamp Eligibility

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 4, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

Child and food.jpgA final rule has been issued that states money in an ABLE account is not counted for purposes of determining SNAP eligibility. Up until now, funds in ABLE accounts were not specifically excluded from eligibility calculations for SNAP benefits. That changed on March 7, 2017, when the amendment went into effect.

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Topics: MassHealth, Food Stamps, SNAP Eligibility, ABLE Accounts, SNAP Benefits

5 Reasons to Use a Lawyer for MassHealth Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 5, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Okay, this is somewhat self-serving. As an elder law attorney, my firm and I advise clients on how they can plan to be eligible for MassHealth coverage of their long-term care. But many seniors and their families don't use lawyers, whether for long-term care planning or assistance with the MassHealth application, often because they're afraid of the cost. Some take steps based on what they've heard from others, some do nothing, and others enlist non-lawyers to assist with MassHealth applications, often referred by nursing homes.

Here's a few reasons to use an elder law attorney instead:

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth

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