Planning for Life

Anthony Bushu

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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

Who Should Build a Wall? Mexican Life Expectancy to Equal that in the US by 2030

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 17, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Healthy americans.jpgAccording to an article in The Lancet, average life expectancy at birth may reach 90 in South Korea by 2030, but not in the United States where life expectancy actually declined from 2014 to 2015, the first time that has occurred in more than two decades. While the decline, according to the National Center for Health Statistics was small, from 76.5 to 76.3 years for men and from 81.3 to 81.2 for women, it's one of many bad signs about health in the United States.

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Topics: growth of elderly population

Appeals Court Confirms Use of POAs in Life Estate Deeds

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 10, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

A life estate is a deed that divides ownership by time. The "life tenant" has full rights to the property during his life, but at his death full rights pass to the "remaindermen." Both the life tenant and the remaindermen are owners of the property, but their interests are different.

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

7 Reasons You Should Consider A QTIP Trust

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 26, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

older married couple with lawyer.jpgSo, what's a QTIP trust? "QTIP" stands for qualified terminable interest property. Total legal gobbledygook, right? So forget the words. What it means is a trust that you leave for your spouse that gives him the right to all of the income and limits his right to the principal. Those limits can be total, meaning no right to principal, or minor, meaning simply limited by the HEMS standard (for health, education, maintenance and financial security) or fully available but controlled by a trustee other than your spouse.  

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Topics: trusts, asset protection, Estate Planning, estate taxes

A Different Approach to Estate Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 12, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I had lunch the other day with Vincent Bonazzoli of the Family Estate Planning Law Group in Lynnfield. He has a different approach to estate planning representation that may work better for many attorneys and their clients than more traditional forms of estate planning.

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Topics: Legal profession, Estate Planning

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

2 Reasons Surviving Spouses Should File Federal Estate Tax Returns: Portability and Capital Gains

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 29, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

With the threshold for federal estate taxes set at $5.49 million this year (it adjusts each year for inflation), very few estates have to file a federal estate tax return. In contrast, the Massachusetts threshold is $1 million, meaning that many more estates must file a Massachusetts return. For estates that fall between $1 million and $5.49 million, it can still make sense to file a federal return if the decedent left a surviving spouse.

This is for two reasons: portability and capital gains step up.

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Topics: capital gains taxes, Probate Estate Administration, estate taxes

Parenting a Child on the Autism Spectrum: A Curious Incident

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 24, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

incident of the dog.pngRecently I attended a play, "A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” in Boston, and I am reminded how truly powerful theater can be. Having read the book I didn't expect to be impacted so much, to the point that I couldn't breathe. The moment in the play that stood out most to me was the mother of Christopher, the 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s, explaining why she left home, eventually getting a divorce. 

Here's what she said about parenting her child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, (like my child), quoting from the book:

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Topics: Managing Stress, Telomere, Stress, Telomere Effect, Caregivers, Mothers of chronically ill children

Managing Stress Can Save a Caregivers Life

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 15, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

Karen's mom.jpgFamily caregivers are under a tremendous amount of stress. It is no surprise that when scientists went looking for a population that would likely record chronic stress throughout their lives, they used mothers of chronically ill children.

Compared to control mothers of healthy children, scientists Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel, whose research won the Nobel Prize, found that the mothers who spent years caring for ill children had shorter telomeres (caps to the chromosomes). When telomeres become too short, cells can no longer multiply, which is a very bad thing.

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Topics: Managing Stress, Telomere, Stress, Telomere Effect, Caregivers, Mothers of chronically ill children

Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 13, 2017

Deconstructing Conflict.jpgThere is the old myth of "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" for family owned and operated enterprises. The real truth is most family businesses that fail do so because they don't plan ahead, or they don't handle conflict well.

Blair Trippe, Managing Partner of Continuity Family Business Consulting and co-author of Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power, visited Margolis & Bloom on Monday, March 6th, as part of our monthly First Monday Lunch for Professionals series to discuss understanding and managing conflict in family business situations.

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