Planning for Life

Massachusetts Taxes Real Estate in Estates of Non-Residents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 24, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis


That house on the Cape or Martha's Vineyard or in the Berkshires, what happens when the owner dies and is not a Massachusetts resident? Is it subject to the Massachusetts estate tax?


And it's a bit complicated.

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Topics: Massachusetts, estate taxes, real estate

Low Dementia Growth Predicted for Massachusetts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 3, 2017

older coupleBy Jamie Marshall

The Alzheimer’s Association has released its annual report of facts and figures about the disease, reporting that 5.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, 200,000 of whom are below age 65.

Most of those with Alzheimer’s, 82 percent, are 75 or older, with more of these between 75 and 84 than those 85 and older. This contrasts with a similar article I wrote six years ago, when most people with Alzheimer's were 85 and over. I assume this has to do with changing demographics: there are relatively few Americans in the older cohort because they were born during the baby bust of the Depression -- 85 years ago was 1932. This trend will continue for another decade and a half, and then the "older old" population will skyrocket as the oldest Baby Boomers start reaching the 85 year old threshold beginning in 2031.

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Topics: baby boomers, dementia, Massachusetts

Expanded Estate Recovery NOT included in House Committee on Ways and Means FY 2017 Budget Recommendations

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on April 26, 2016

By Patricia C. D'Agostino

We are happy to report that the House Committee on Ways and Means did not include Governor Baker’s proposal to expand Medicaid estate recovery. As previously reported, the Governor’s proposed provisions would allow MassHealth to make claims against all property in which the deceased MassHealth member had an ownership interest immediately prior to death. This would include property passing by survivorship or beneficiary designation to a spouse or child that was held in joint names, life estate, tenants by the entirety or living trusts. Current law limits estate recovery to the probate estate of a deceased MassHealth member – meaning the Commonwealth could recover if the deceased member owned their home in his or her name alone.

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Topics: Massachusetts, MassHealth

The MassHealth PCA Program Can Pay Children to Care for Parents

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on March 2, 2015

By Patricia C. D'Agostino

Adult children of seniors who need care at home can be caught in a difficult bind—wanting to provide the kind of substantial hands-on assistance that will permit a parent to remain at home instead of moving to a long-term care facility, but finding themselves unable to do so given their own financial need to work and the demands of their jobs.  The MassHealth Personal Care Attendant (“PCA”) program can offer a solution for many families who find themselves in this situation.  The PCA program can provide a person with approximately $13 per hour to pay a caregiver (including a child or other family member, so long as they are not the parent’s legal guardian or spouse).  

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Topics: Massachusetts, MassHealth

Massachusetts Taxes Below National Average

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 30, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: Massachusetts, income taxes, Estate Planning

Estate Planning Attorneys Beware -- Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 29, 2012

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on UnsplashBy Harry S. Margolis

Estate planning attorneys in Massachusetts have long been protected from liability for their mistakes by the fact that the people usually harmed are the potential beneficiaries of the estate, rather than the client for whom they drafted the will or trust. Beneficiaries who lose out have no standing to bring a malpractice action against the attorney because they didn't hire the allegedly negligent lawyer in the first place.

But now the Massachusetts Appeals Court has said that while a beneficiary may have no malpractice claim in the absence of an attorney-client relationship, he can sue as the intended third-party beneficiary of the contract between the attorney and the decedent to create an estate plan.


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Topics: Massachusetts, Estate Planning, malpractice

Beware Bankers Life Long-Term Care Insurance - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 7, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

Since we first published this post in 2012, our clients have had both good and bad experiences with accessing their long-term care insurance. In general, the more solid the company, the better the experience. Fortunately, many of the less solid companies have left the business, but older policies with them still exist and they continue to put up roadblocks to getting coverage, often claiming to have lost paperwork that was sent to them.

We have found that tenacity and keeping good records of every contact with these companies ultimately results in coverage. Sometimes a letter from an attorney is also necessary. Of course, all of this is a terrible burden to place on families already overstretched, doing their best to care for an ailing family member.

Here's the post:

A recent article on the CBS News website, "Some long-term healthcare policies not paying up," highlights the difficulties many owners of Bankers Life long-term care insurance policies are having trouble collecting. As the article reports, and as some of our clients have experienced, Bankers Life typically gives policyholders a major run around when they make claims, often claiming not to have received documentation that has been sent in.

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Topics: long-term care insurance, Massachusetts

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