Planning for Life

SJC Rules House in Nominee Trust Not a Countable Asset for MassHealth

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 9, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

MA-SJC-Masshealth-eligibility-trust-law-Wellesley-MA-02481

In the latest of a long line of cases debunking MassHealth legal theories, in Guilfoil vs. Sec. of the Exec. Office of Health and Human Services (SJC-12922, February 9, 2021), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) finds that an applicant's life interest in a home held by a nominee trust is not a countable asset for purposes of her eligibility for MassHealth coverage of her nursing home care. We also note that this is the latest in a long line of MassHealth trust cases litigated by Lisa N. Neeley of Mirick O'Connell in Worcester.

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Topics: MassHealth, nominee realty trust

SJC Imposes Time Limit on MassHealth Estate Recovery

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 5, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

MassHealth-estate-recovery-attorney-Wellesley-MA-02481

In an important case, the Supreme Judicial Court rules that MassHealth may not seek estate recovery against the estate of a beneficiary more than three years after her death. In the Matter of the Estate of Jacqueline Ann Kendall (SJC-12881, December 28, 2020) involves a claim by MassHealth for reimbursement of $104,738.23 it had paid for the care of Jacqueline Ann Kendall before she died on August 7, 2014.

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Topics: MassHealth, MassHealth lien, estate recovery

The Challenge of Protecting The House When One Spouse is in a Nursing Home

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 30, 2020

 By Harry S. Margolis

capital-gains-MassHealth-nursing-home-elder-law-Wellesley-MA-02481

Clients with a spouse in a nursing home can find themselves facing a difficult planning decision due to the large growth in value of their homes since they purchased them. When one spouse is in a nursing home, normally we advise transferring the house to the healthy spouse. But that can have unfortunate capital gains consequences, depending on which spouse passes away first and whether the surviving spouse sells the house.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, nursing homes, MassHealth, asset protection, capital gains

System Failures: Policing, Public Health, Education, Housing, Long-Term Care

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 14, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

reform-long-term-care-Wellesley-MA-02481


System Failures in the United States

The coronavirus pandemic and murder of George Floyd have laid bare the failures of public health and policing in the United States. Those failures are not news. We've known that we spend much more per capita on health care than any other nation with uneven results and a system where a health event can bankrupt a family.

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth, Medicaid

What is Settlement Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 1, 2020

 
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A settlement or award of damages in a personal injury case means the end of litigation. It’s the biggest step – but only the first step – in assuring your financial future. You need to make sure that the award is maximized, that the funds are safeguarded, and that you preserve your eligibility for public benefits. This involves a number of issues, including:
 

Resolving Liens – Personal injury settlements and awards to minor or disabled plaintiffs are often subject to claims by Medicare, Medicaid (MassHealth), or private insurers. These must be resolved prior to any distribution of funds. It's often best that this be done as part of settlement negotiations, because a lien holder—the state, federal government, or insurance company—has an incentive to help the case settle. Your personal injury attorney will resolve any of these liens as part of the litigation.

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Topics: Medicare, special needs planning, MassHealth, personal injury settlement

Attorney Sarah Hartline Gets MassHealth Transfer Penalty Overturned

Posted by Estey Silva on March 24, 2020

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The MassHealth Board of Hearings ruled in favor of Attorney Sarah Hartline’s client last week in a case involving a transfer of assets from a nursing home resident to her son and a question of whether the transfer was done with the intent to qualify for MassHealth benefits, which would result in a significant disqualification period.

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Topics: nursing homes, Massachusetts, MassHealth, elder law, Medicaid, disqualifying transfer

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

Court Rules MassHealth Must Return Annuity Payments

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 4, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

Annuity-MassHealth-long-term-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

A common MassHealth planning technique for spouses of nursing home residents to protect assets is to purchase a qualifying annuity to shelter their assets above the spousal asset limit of approximately $130,000. (Read our legal guide Using Annuities for MassHealth Planning for Nursing Home Residents.) In order for such purchases not to be treated as disqualifying transfers, they must be "actuarially sound" and must name the Commonwealth as the remainder beneficiary "for at least the total amount of medical assistance, paid on behalf of the institutionalized individual."

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, annuities

How Does MassHealth Calculate Life Estates?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 12, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

life-estates-margolis-and-bloom-masshealth-remaindermen

Life estates have long been a prime long-term care planning device for protecting the home from MassHealth estate recovery because they're quite simple to create. MassHealth recently changed its rules in terms of how it measures life estates when they are created or when property held in a life estate is sold.

What is a Life Estate?

A life estate is a form of joint ownership of real estate where ownership interests are divided by time. The so-called "life tenant" has the right to occupy the property during his or her life and to collect any rental income earned from the property. The life tenant also has the obligation of maintaining the property.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, life estate

Now or Never, MassHealth to Close Door on Pooled Disability Trusts -- Or Perhaps Not

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 17, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

pooled-disability-trusts-elder-law-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Nursing home residents and their families have long used pooled disability trusts to shelter funds for their future needs that are not covered by MassHealth. These may include extra therapies or medical care, entertainment, hiring geriatric care managers, or the costs of maintaining a home. The funds can also be used to pay nursing homes for any gaps in coverage by MassHealth that sometimes occur.

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Topics: MassHealth, disqualifying transfer, pooled disability trust

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