Planning for Life

Anthony Bushu

Recent Posts

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

Masshealth-nursing-home-lookback-period-asset-protection-Wellesley-MA

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 wishes to avoid undue conflict if possible.

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

Appeals Court Confirms Use of POAs in Life Estate Deeds

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 10, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

life-estate-remaindermen-Wellesley-MA

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

QTIP-trust-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MASo, 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

Masshealth-planning-elder-law-attorney-Wellesley-MA

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

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 29, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

real-estate-capital-gains-federal-estate-tax-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

With the threshold for federal estate taxes set at $11.58 million as of 2020 (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 $11.58 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

Reminder: There is No Such Thing as a Medicare Improvement Standard

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 8, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

hospital-discharge-protections-medicare-legal-guide.pngFor decades, Medicare, skilled nursing facilities, and visiting nurse associations have applied the so-called "improvement" standard in determining whether residents were entitled to Medicare coverage of the care. The standard, which can be found nowhere in Medicare law, only permitted coverage if the skilled treatment was deemed to contribute to improving the patient's condition, which can be difficult to achieve for many ill seniors.

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Topics: Medicare, nursing homes

What Happens if Your Lawyer Doesn't Retire?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 1, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

lawyer-retirement-attorney-Wellesley-MA

In a survey that it acknowledges is unscientific, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly asked subscribers "When do you foresee yourself retiring from the practice of law?" More than a third responded that they would work at least part-time "until I literally no longer can." Almost a quarter plan to retire between ages 70 and 80. A quarter will retire between 65 and 70 and the smallest group, 16 percent, plan to retire before age 65.

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Topics: Legal profession

IEP/BSEA Hearing Process for Those Working with Special Needs Children

Posted by Anthony Bushu on February 6, 2017

special-needs-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MASpecial Education attorney Heather Gold visited Margolis & Bloom on Monday, February 6th 2017, as part of our monthly First Monday Lunch for Professionals. Heather represents parents who have children with special needs in connection with the IEP/BSEA (Board of Special Education Appeals) Hearing process.

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Questions & Answers on Protecting the Family Home

Posted by Anthony Bushu on February 1, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

MassHealth-real-estate-planning-asset-protection-Wellesley-MA

I recently conducted a webinar surveying the various techniques clients can take to protect their home from the costs of long-term care. These ranged from standing pat and doing nothing to giving their home to their kids, with life estates, irrevocable trusts, and purchasing long-term care insurance as in-between strategies, each with its own pros and cons.

Afterwards, I received a number of follow-up questions. Here are some of them with my answers:

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

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