Planning for Life

4 Steps to Protect Your Digital Estate

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 26, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

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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 on line, buying stuff on Amazon, paying our bills through on-line 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, 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

This Isn’t What My Stepfather Would Have Wanted

Posted by Kerry Reilly on March 21, 2019

By Kerry Reilly

losing-home-because-of-no-will-margolis-and-bloom-call-nowWith the growth of blended families, having an estate plan in place becomes even more important.  On February 7, 2019, The Boston Globe published an article entitled “A patriarch leaves no will and the home he meant for his Cambridge family may be lost,” which illustrates in heartbreaking detail what happens when we don’t have the right plan in place.

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Topics: Estate Planning, will in massachusetts, health care proxy

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

UBS as IRA Custodian has Fiduciary Duty to Beneficiary

Posted by Alison Blum on November 7, 2018

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In UBS Financial Services, Inc. v. Donna M. Aliberti (Mass. App. No. 17-P-1169, October 4, 2018), the Massachusetts Appeals Court concluded that a custodian holding an individual retirement account, or IRA, has contractual and fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries, reversing the dismissal of case brought against the company for failure to distribute IRA proceeds.

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Topics: Estate Planning, trustee

Benson and D'Agostino Speak at ALCA - New England Conference

Posted by Beth Cohen King on November 5, 2018

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On October 29th, Rebecca J. Benson and Patricia C. D'Agostino were panel experts in the break out session called Optimizing the Interdisciplinary Team: An Advanced Case Study Workshop  at the ALCA 2018 New England Chapter conference. Led by the Moderator, Jennifer Pilcher, founder and owner of Clear Guidancethe panel included experts in estate planning, care management, home care, psychiatry and special care units in assisted living facilities.  The goal of the session was to learn creative care planning techniques and strategies to maximize how one collaborates with elder care colleagues.

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Topics: Estate Planning, elder law, elder care, home care

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

Bonazzoli Recommends Program for Dealing with Estate Planning Unknowns

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 21, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis


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I recently wrote a blog post on how often everyone should review their estate plans -- when you're younger, when circumstances change; when you're older, every five years. It just happened that after posting that blog, I had the opportunity to review the new book by my colleague and friend, Vincent E. Bonazzoli, How an Ordinary Lawyer Creates and Sustains an Extraordinary Client Care Program, in which he explains that estate planning is all about planning for unknown future events and circumstances.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Why Didn't Aretha Have a Will?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 18, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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Aretha Franklin was a star and a wise businesswoman. According to her obituary, she demanded payment up front before she performed. She is reported to have died with an estate worth $80 million.

Yet, she had no estate plan. When one of my clients sent me an email asking me why, I turned the question back to her and she responded:

I think that she has some shady lawyers, accountants, and other random business people around her who did not serve her well.

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Topics: Estate Planning, will

Why You Don't Need to Review Your Estate Plan Every Five Years (Unless You're Over 60)

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 31, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

How often should you review your estate plan? The answer, like that to many other legal questions, is it depends. It depends on how old you are and whether there has been a significant change in your circumstances. If you are over age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades (which is the norm among our clients), it's almost certain that you need to update your documents. After that, you should review your plan every five years or so. But if you're younger, you don't need to do so nearly as often.

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Age

Here are a few age ranges and what they mean in terms of estate planning:

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

Why We Don't Plan: Prunes

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 13, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

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Why don't people, especially seniors, plan to protect themselves and their families? The answer, which I learned at a program sponsored by the Boston Estate Planning Council about findings from the MIT Age Lab, can in part be explained by the acronym PRUNE. PRUNE stands the types of information that have emotional impact on us, those that are:

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Topics: Estate Planning, financial planning, aging

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