Planning for Life

Senior Tax Breaks: Boon or Ticking Bomb?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 23, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

As in many states, towns in Massachusetts may allow low-income seniors to defer real estate taxes until their homes are sold or after they die. The towns may charge interest of up to 8% interest on these unpaid taxes, which can compound year after year. While some towns that offer this benefit charge no or low interest, three out of four charge the maximum of 8% per year. This can be a big surprise when the children ultimately inherits property that has been gutted in value.

That happened in a case reported last year in The Boston Globe.

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Topics: seniors, housing policy ,, real estate, senior tax deferral

Should Seniors Downsize or Age in Place?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 7, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

seniors-downsizing-estate planning-margolis-and-bloom

While everyone's desires and circumstances are different, most people upon retirement or later face the issue of whether to stay in their homes or move, whether to a smaller house or apartment, to a 55 and over community, or to get out of northern winters. Some people want relief from the headaches and expense of maintaining a house, not to mention the lawn in front, while others don't want to leave the home or community where they've lived for decades and raised their families.

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Topics: the accessible home, housing policy ,, home care

A Tale of Two Americas

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 21, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, a look at the US economy reflects that it's the best of times for some Americans and the worst for others. We've heard a lot about increasing inequality with the top 1 percent of citizens getting a bigger and bigger share of income and wealth, but as economist Doug Poutasse explained in a presentation at our June First Monday lunch, some cities and regions in the US are doing much better than others. Fortunately for us (except in terms of housing costs), the Boston metropolitan area is one of those more dynamic regions.

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Topics: housing policy ,

Victory for Special Needs Trusts and Section 8 in DeCambre

Posted by Karen Mariscal on June 20, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

On June 14th,  the First Circuit in the seminal (and very local) case DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority, reversed the decision of the lower court, and held that distributions of principal from a special needs trust are NOT counted as income for purposes of Section 8 calculations.  This is the correct decision, in our view, and a significant victory for the disabled population, with nation-wide implications. 

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Topics: special needs planning, housing policy ,, supplemental needs trusts

Get On It! The Centralized Section 8 Waiting List

Posted by Karen Mariscal on June 14, 2016

By Karen Mariscal

On the day your intellectually disabled child turns 18, give yourself a birthday present – put him or her on the Section 8 waiting list.  The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.  In the Boston area it usually takes 8-10 years to get a voucher, starting from the day you first submit the pre-application. 

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Topics: special needs planning, housing policy ,, special needs

Exciting New Proposal to Help With Housing for Elderly and Disabled in Massachusetts

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on January 25, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

Given the cost of living in Massachusetts, we need to think creatively about how to make sure the elderly and disabled can afford to stay in their home communities, close to their families.  Encouragingly, a bill has been introduced in the State House to create the Disabled and Elderly Accessory Apartment Loan Program, which would allow a homeowner to take out a low-cost loan from the state to create an accessory apartment of up to two bedrooms, provided a person with a disability or a senior citizen residesin the new unit or in the original part of the home.

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Topics: seniors, housing policy ,, disability

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