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Creating Jointly-Held Assets in Massachusetts: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Adding someone’s name to an asset of yours can be done all too easily, without your realizing all of the ramifications. There are many issues that come into play when deciding whether making an asset jointly-held is the right move. Among those issues are the common issues raised in any estate plan: creditor protection; family […]

Income Tax Planning for a Terminally Ill or Recently Deceased Person

The following are notes for lawyers from the Massachusetts Bar Association’s program which I moderated entitled “Estate, Tax and Health Care Planning for the Terminally Ill Client.” Some income tax planning for a person’s final income tax returns can be done not only immediately prior to the person’s death, but also after the person’s death. […]

A Primer for Elder Care Professionals on the Use of Reserved Special Powers of Appointment in MassHealth Planning

Clients Can Make Some Types of Transfers for Medicaid Planning Purposes Yet Still Reserve Some Degree of Control. Due to their concerns about possible impact of nursing home costs (and the Medicaid disqualification period) on their assets, many aging clients feel under pressure to make transfers of their assets earlier than may otherwise be advisable. One […]

In MassHealth Planning, Some Trusts Can Put Elderly Persons in a Worse Position Than If They Had Taken No Action At All

If Assets Can Be Given Back to or Taken Back by the Original Owner, the Assets of the Trust Are Not Protected for MassHealth Purposes if a Nursing Home Stay Becomes Necessary. In trust law, there is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all.” Trusts must be designed to meet the particular concerns of the person whose […]

Proper Medicaid Planning May Permit Keeping the Home in the Family (as Published in Estate Planning)

This article of mine was published in the April 2001 issue of Estate Planning. (Note to reader: The Medicaid lookback/disqualification laws changed to 60 months on 2/8/06, after this article was published; otherwise, the rest of the article remains valid.) Many aging clients are concerned that, after a lifetime of hard work to acquire and maintain […]

Executing a Health Care Proxy under Massachusetts Law

If you are at least 18 years of age you can execute a Health Care Proxy, appointing someone to be your “Health Care Agent.” Under this law, which became effective in Massachusetts on December 19, 1990, your Health Care Agent will be empowered to make health care decisions for you, if and when a physician […]

Nursing Home Occupants Are Not Patients; They Are Residents Who Have Extensive Rights

Approximately 20% of all persons who die every year are residents of nursing homes. Since a nursing home is the last place of residence for such a large percentage of our population, it is very important that all of the rights of nursing home residents be upheld. Federal law requires that a nursing home must […]

Non-Tax Estate Planning Issues to Consider for the Terminally Ill Person in Massachusetts

Notes for lawyers from the Massachusetts Bar Association’s program I moderated entitled “Estate, Tax and Health Care Planning for the Terminally Ill Client” For someone who is terminally ill, the following estate planning and health care planning measures should be considered: (1) Execute a health care proxy under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 201D. Also consider […]

Limited Liability Companies Combine the Best Parts of Partnerships and Corporations

A limited liability company (LLC) offers protection from personal liability for business debts, just like a corporation. Unlike a corporation, which must pay its own taxes, an LLC is a pass-through tax entity, so the profits and losses of the business pass through to its owners, who report them on their personal tax returns just […]

A Question for Elder Law Attorneys: Could It Be Legal Malpractice to Ignore Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-Term Care Insurance Is a Necessary Option to Consider. Many elderly clients initially think they are somehow benefiting themselves by engaging in the impoverishment aspects of Medicaid planning. Attorneys should make it clear to clients that long-term care planning, which involves Medicaid (known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) issues, can sometimes be nothing more than inheritance […]