For a long list of reasons, we recommend to all seniors contemplating marriage that they enter into a prenuptial agreement. Such agreements don't just govern what would happen to their property and income in the event of divorce, but also who is responsible for various living expenses, including maintenance of insurance and what will happen to each spouse's property upon death.
While men and women getting married at a younger age often have little or no assets to begin with and create an estate and family together, older newlyweds are more likely bring with them both children and property accumulated over a lifetime of work -- often with a predeceased spouse. Without planning, assets can easily end up paying for a new spouse's long-term care or pass to the family of the surviving spouse, rather than to the children and grandchildren of the first spouse to pass away.
MassHealth law provides an exception to the usual five-year penalty period for gifts of property when a parent transfers her home to a so-called "caretaker" child. In the case of Maguire v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass. Ct. of Appeals No. 11-P-792, Oct. 4, 2012), the Massachusetts Court of Appeals upholds the denial of this exception in a case where a daughter helped her mother stay at home, but where the mother might have been cared for in assisted living rather than a nursing home.
You may have heard the terms "special" needs trust and "supplemental" needs trust and wondered what the difference is. The short answer is that there's no difference. Here's the long answer.
When the field of special needs planning began some three decades ago, we generally called the trusts we created for people with disabilities “supplemental” needs trusts. Our thinking was that the purpose of the trusts was to supplement the assistance provided by Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other public benefits programs whose level of support is meager at best.