Planning for Life

Should You Use a Lawyer or Do It Yourself?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 17, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

estate-planning-DIY-long-term-care-attorney-Wellesley-MA-02481


Do you have an estate plan? Is it up-to-date?

Why Most People Don't Have Estate Plans

While most people know estate planning is necessary and important, they put it off for a number of reasons, including the following:

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Topics: Estate Planning

Got Questions? We've Got Answers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 12, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

estate-planning-questions-special-needs-trusts-Wellesley-MA

Did you know that we have a plethora of information about estate, long-term care, and special needs planning on our website? And it's in all sorts of formats depending on how you prefer to get your information and how in-depth you'd like to delve into a particular topic. We have articles, blog posts, legal guides, podcasts, and short instructive videos.

Here's a guide:

Articles

We have dozens of articles on topics as varied as "So, You've Been Appointed Trustee: What Now?" to Is Guardianship Necessary When a Child with Special Needs Turns 18? to "44 Questions to Ask a Nursing Home." Check them all out here.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Remote Notarization Law Now Available in Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 28, 2020

By Laura Goodman and Harry S. Margolis

virtual-notirization-legal-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Last week, the Massachusetts legislature (finally) passed legislation permitting the remote notarization and witnessing of legal documents during the pandemic—the 45th of 50 states to take this step, and Governor Baker signed the bill into law on Monday, April 27th.

While we can now execute wills and other documents remotely, the legislation doesn't make it easy. Here are its main provisions and requirements:

  • The law only lasts until three days after the end of the state of emergency, which is now May 18th.
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Topics: Estate Planning, coronavirus, document execution

Estate Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 14, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

coronavirus-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

As reported in The Sunday Boston Globe, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic along with either isolation at home or the need for essential workers to go out and risk becoming infected has prompted many Massachusetts residents to consider planning estates for the first time or to complete plans they may have started but let slide several years ago.

We've seen this as well, especially among doctors and other health care professionals on the front line who feel an increased urgency to get their plans in place. The difficulty in these cases is witnessing and notarizing estate planning instruments while maintaining proper social distancing. I described how we've done this in an earlier blog post.

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Topics: Estate Planning, will, coronavirus, document execution

How Long Must Lawyers Hold Original Wills?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 10, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

estate-planning-attorneys-original-wills-Wellesley-MA

Most estate planning attorneys take on the responsibility of holding their clients' original wills and other documents. They do this for two reasons. First, they are often better equipped to keep the originals safe where they can be found when needed. Second, there's the hope that when the time comes, the client's family will return and engage the attorney or her firm to help probate the client's estate. Many law firms see their file cabinets as goldmines, or at least as insurance that they'll always have business in the future. This is especially the case, since many charge very low fees for preparing estate plans and higher fees for assisting with probate administration.

But this practice of holding original documents raises a number of questions that are seldom asked and answered. These include the following:

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Topics: Estate Planning, will in massachusetts

5 Common MassHealth Myths & Misconceptions

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on February 18, 2020

 

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With so much at stake, planning — and paying — for long-term care services such as assisted living or nursing home stays can be a confusing and anxiety-ridden process. Medicaid (known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) provides coverage for long-term care costs, including comprehensive coverage for skilled nursing home care and supplemental coverage for the cost of assisted living and home health care, but there are some common misconceptions about what MassHeath does and does not cover and who is eligible.

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Topics: nursing homes, MassHealth, Estate Planning, financial planning, Medicaid, MassHealth lien

Should There Be a Tax on Just 2,000 Estates Each Year?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 28, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

federal-estate-tax-attorney-Wellesley-MA

With the current federal estate tax threshold set at $11.58 million (over $23 million for a married couple) in 2020, fewer than 2,000 estates are expected to pay any tax this year. That's out of more than 2.8 million deaths, or approximately 0.07% of all estates. (The threshold for Massachusetts estates is $1 million.)

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes, tax law

4 Steps to Protect Your Digital Estate

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 26, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

protect-digital-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Don't all the conveniences of life sometimes seem just to make life more complicated? This is nowhere more true than with respect to the internet. Whether or not we spend half our lives responding to devices, we all transact a lot of our daily business online, buying stuff on Amazon, paying our bills through online bank programs, stocking up and using airline miles, reallocating our investments, saving photos, watching movies, or planning trips. And that's not even mentioning social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, or dating sites.

So, what happens to all your connections and information if you become disabled or die? Who has access? Who do you want to have access, and to which sites? For instance, you may want your children to be able to access your financial accounts, but not your dating site.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Probate Estate Administration

Don't Let the Perfect Plan Get in the Way of a Good One

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 26, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

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Some of our most thoughtful clients have the most trouble completing their estate plans. One client in particular continues to haunt me. A successful architect and city planner, a number of his children went into the "helping" professions, fields in which they would never reach his level of financial success. While well off, once divided into equal shares for his four children, whatever he would leave them could not, on its own, ensure each child's financial security.

My client struggled between his wish to help his children lead more comfortable lives and his concern that their inheritance act as a financial bulwark against their possible future needs for extraordinary health care or retirement. We tried to find the right balance to do some of each—providing each with some direct inheritance while holding some money in reserve through a trust to provide for potential future needs. But it was clear that the funds were insufficient to meet both goals fully.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Russell, McTernan, McTernan & Fruci of Norwood Merges with Margolis & Bloom

Posted by Beth Cohen King on October 1, 2018

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Wellesley, MA, October 1, 2018 – Margolis & Bloom, an esteemed estate, special needs, and long-term care planning law firm, recently announced the acquisition of 55-year-old estate planning firm, Russell, McTernan, McTernan & Fruci in Norwood.
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Topics: Estate Planning, elder law, merger

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