Category Archives: Massachusetts Elder Lawyer

Planning for Long-Distance Caregiving

As the Baby Boomer generation enters their twilight years, a large percentage of their children find themselves sandwiched between responsibilities for their own family and their aging parents. For caregivers who live far from their loved one, this dynamic proves particularly difficult. It’s estimated that there are between 5 and 7 million long-distance caregivers (LDCs) in the United States. An elder law attorney can advise both the elderly parent and the LDC about best practices for long-distance care and estate planning.

Often adult children don’t realize that their aging parent needs care or support until some kind of health crisis occurs. Long distances can compound this situation. When elderly parents live more than an hour away, problems may not be noticed immediately. Advance planning is essential. Ideally, the entire family should discuss responsibilities and make decisions in advance, including who will take the lead in care giving and where responsibilities lie.

In this planning stage, family members can determine the best options for care, including moving the parent closer to the caregiver or enlisting the help of in-home care services in the aging parent’s location. Family members should also make decisions about individual LDC roles. Siblings may decide to split responsibilities. One sibling may be better with hiring and monitoring caregivers, while another may choose to coordinate legal planning.

Here are some things to keep in mind as aging parents and long-distance caregivers plan ahead:

  • Respecting the Aging Parent’s Wishes. Many aging parents may need help but want to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. It’s imperative that their wishes are taken into consideration with regard to where and how they live.
  • Contacting an Elder Attorney. An elder attorney should be consulted to help with estate planning and to guide the family in legal decisions. It’s important that issues such as the power of attorney for health directives be decided while the parent is able to do so. An elder law attorney can also make sure that the elderly person’s property and financial means are protected, while still providing for their daily needs.
  • Organizing Affairs. It’s important to know where all of the pertinent paperwork is located.
  • Learning About Resources in the Area. Long-distance caregivers should do research to learn about the resources in their elderly relative’s area to find the best in-home care and other services that will benefit them.

Becoming the caregiver for an elderly parent is challenging. In cases where the caregiver lives a significant distance from the parent, the situation can be even more of a challenge. An elder law attorney is an essential element in a long-distance caregiving plan. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you put together a long-distance caregiving plan for your loved one.

 

Your Guide to Medicaid in Massachusetts

 

Before you sacrifice your own money, or your inheritance, to pay for your parents’ nursing home care, ask yourself the following question:

What are my parents’ assets, and what can I do with them?

According to Massachussets law, a person can only use Medicaid if he or she has less than $2,000 in “countable assets.” Certain kinds of assets, however, are exempt from this rule, including irrevocable trusts, long-term care insurance, and some annuities. If your parents have more than $2,000, ask a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer for advice on how to make these assets exempt.

What about my parents’ home?

Owning real estate makes paying for a nurisng home tricky under Massachusetts law. If your parents own a house, and one of them has to live in a nursing home, the house is exempt as long as your other parent continues to live there. You can also get an exemption if one of their children lives there and has a disability. Otherwise, your parents will have to sell it and spend the money on nursing home care before they can use Medicaid.

What are my responsibilities as a child?

Under Massachusetts law, children are required to support their elderly parents. If your parents use Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, the state may ask you to reimburse a portion of these costs. You can get out of this requirement, however, if you lack sufficient means or can prove that your parents didn’t support you in your youth. Ask a Massachusetts elder law attorney if you qualify for these exemptions.

Meta Title: Your Guide to Massachussets Elder Law and Medicaid

Meta Description: Before you put your parents in a nursing home, talk to your Massachusetts nursing home attorney about these three questions.

It’s Never Too Early to Draft a Will: Tips and Information

Making a will doesn't have to be difficult or expensive, but it does take the desire to follow through. If you are working with, or considering finding a Massachusetts elder law attorney or Massachusetts nursing home attorney for the affairs of your aging parents, you will soon discover the value of that decision. An experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can save you untold amounts of stress and money, and provides an amazing amount of peace of mind. You may also discover something you did not expect…that it is never too early to draft a will of your own.

If going through this exercise with your parents has you considering putting your own affairs in order, here are some valuable tips to help you in the process.

  • Choose an appropriate executor. This person should have organizational skills, be detail oriented and should accept the responsibility willingly.
  • Select a back-up executor. A substitute executor will serve in the event you and your primary executor were to die simultaneously. This is quite possible where spouses select each other, but then don’t choose a substitute.
  • Select an experienced attorney.
  • Feel free to make specific legacies to individuals. This can make your desires clear and is a very personal and deep meaning way to recognize those you care about.
  • Keep your will secure and let family members know where it is kept.
  • Make sure your will is properly signed and legally witnessed. Your attorney can help make sure this is done correctly.

Making a will doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, but it does take the desire to follow through. Finding a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can get you started. If you have questions, concerns or would like assistance with your parents affairs or in setting up your own details, we invite you to contact us. We are experienced, caring, and will help ensure the wishes of you and your parents are fulfilled. We look forward to working with you.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Getting a divorce is the last thing on most people’s minds when doing an estate plan, but even couples with the best intentions sometimes end up in divorce court. Having your original estate planning documents revisited is an important step after the divorce process.

One of the first estate plan priorities after divorce is the removal references to your spouse as your power of attorney, trustee or executor. This happens automatically to many documents under some state laws, but it’s important to make the changes as soon as possible.

Another big area of concern with any estate plan after divorce would be any minor children and their named guardians and conservators. New people need to be chosen to fulfill these obligations in the event of yours or your ex-spouse’s death. This is especially important if there are any minor children in the family who have special needs. During this process, reconsider how money is distributed to minor children in the event of your death. Your estate plan should be set up so that someone who is your ex-spouse will not have control of your minor children’s inheritance.

Changing beneficiary designations on life insurance plans, although normally handled through the divorce, is also a key point. The most important are qualified retirement plans like 401Ks. Make sure documents that were anticipated by the divorce judgment, like the transfer of a house to the spouse, are carried out. Don’t forget to record new deeds for all properties that were previously joint-ownership.

People often assume when they get a divorce judgment everything has been done. Some of the actions taken after divorce are just as important for future security as the divorce itself.

What is the Difference between Personal Property and Real Property

Let your Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer help you with real property.

Let your Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer help you with real property.

When it comes to estate planning, the most important step is to find an elder law attorney. It helps to have an impartial mind at work to make sure your assets are taken care of properly. A Massachusetts elder lawyer can help with wills, set up trusts and making sure that documents concerning transfer of property are done correctly. Most importantly, you’ll be able to ask questions throughout the process. One topic of discussion with your estate planning lawyer will be the difference between personal property and real property. Both are defined by Federal Law.

Real property is your land and any structures you have built on that land. This can include your home, commercial and/or agricultural buildings. As an example, if you own a farm, your real property includes the acreage of that farm and all buildings on that farm.

Personal property includes all other property, such as cars, boats, clothing and furniture as well as stocks, bonds, bank accounts and other personal items. Going back to the farm analogy, your barn would be your real property, but your tractors and other farm equipment would be considered personal property. Changing this to a city scenario, your house is real property, but all the furniture, appliances (except built-in) and your car are personal property.

It is important to understand this concept when planning your estate. When land is transferred, whether by sale or inheritance, by law all real property is included in that transfer. Unless there is a specific agreement, personal property is not included. Your estate planning lawyer will make sure that the details of your estate outline any such special agreements.

Planning an estate can be a complicated issue. Some of the forms, particularly to do with the transfer of property, are complex and there is no room for error. Protect your family’s future, and preserve your peace of mind by getting an elder lawyer to help with that planning. Contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin.

Tips For Making Your Estate Planning a Smooth Process

estate-planning-paperworkIf you feel that the time has come for you, or an elderly loved one, to truly finalize your estate planning, you should contact an elder law attorney or an estate planning lawyer. When you go for your consultation with a Massachusetts living trust attorney, it is important to have in mind an idea of how you would like your estate planning to go. Below are some useful tips and guidelines that will help you as you work with your Massachusetts elder lawyer.

1. Consider including a simultaneous death clause, which will pass your estate onto your children in the event that your spouse dies shortly after you do.

2. In order to disinherit a child, you must spell that out in your will.

3. Remember to keep beneficiaries on your pension, life insurance and 401(k) current.

4. Be sure to designate an executor as well as a back up executor.

5. Store your personal and private information in one designated location in the home, preferably a fire proof safety deposit box. This box should include important personal and financial records, as well as computer passwords and PIN numbers.

6. Understand the impact of estate taxes and discuss with your estate planning attorney some options for reducing or avoiding estate taxes.

Remember that upon your death, your family and loved ones will be going through an emotionally taxing as well as stressful time, and you will help them considerably by having your affairs in order. It is important to recognize that with age comes certain responsibilities, and that the sooner you have your estate and other affairs in order, the better off you and your loved ones will be. Contact us with any questions you might have regarding Massachusetts and even federal law, and set up an appointment to begin the process of finalizing your affairs. You will feel at ease, and your family will be glad to know that an already taxing time will be much less stressful because of your willingness to work ahead.

Massachusetts Elder Law Planning for Long-term Care

longtermcare-elder-lawElder law attorneys in Massachusetts can help you solve issues regarding long-term care arrangements. If you are not proactive and speak to a Massachusetts elder lawyer early on, long-term care costs can deplete the estate of you or your loved ones. Although insurance may help assuage some of the financial burden, an estate planning attorney can present different options to you.

Long –Term Care Insurance Policies

As part of your estate planning, you may decide to take out an insurance policy in the case you or a loved one requires extensive medical care in a long-term facility. Policies available cover nursing home care and assisted living costs. Your elder lawyer can include policy terms in your living will along with give you advice on how to select the best policy. Since you may not need long-term insurance for years, choose an established insurance provider with a long track record of honoring claims. A Massachusetts elder attorney is likely to point out the importance of an inflation rider that allows the benefit amount to increase each year. If you need long-term care in 10 or 20 years, you want to make sure the coverage you have is sufficient.

Getting Your Wishes Granted

An elder attorney ensures that you or your loved one gets the care you want and deserve. In your living will, you could instruct your loved ones on the type of facility you want to be placed. A list of facilities and nursing care providers can also be listed in a long-term care plan. Your attorney also helps you find the funds from your estate to pay for long-term care if required. All monies are reviewed during your consultation to make the smartest financial decisions. Monies used for long-term care can come from medical insurance, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits, income and savings.

Documents You Need

Telling your children or grandchildren your wishes for long-term care is not enough. A MA elder care lawyer assures all documentation is filed and legally-binding. Your attorney can draw up your last will and testament, living will and power of attorney documents. In your documents, you could also designate a personal care coordinator. This person is in charge of making the decisions when you are medically incapacitated due to old age or disease.

Speak to a MA elder lawyer early on to avoid financial disaster. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if used for long-term care. Avoid losing your entire estate by planning for this possibility with an elder law attorney.

National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 17 — 23)

living_trust_and_estate_planningThe National Association of Estate Planners and Councils estimates that more than 120,000,000 Americans do not have the adequate estate planning needed to protect their families and loved ones in the event of a health emergency or unexpected death. If you suspect that you or an aging family member may be one of those 120,000,000 people, participate in National Estate Planning Awareness Week and speak with a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer for more information about your own estate planning, or how you might assist an older relative with theirs.

Improper estate planning can be financially and emotionally devastating to those who must deal with its consequences. That’s one reason why the NAEPC worked with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives to establish October 17–23 as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.

Founded in 1962, the NAEPC is a non-profit business league with a strong commitment to promote financial and estate planning throughout the year, especially during National Estate Planning Awareness Week, when the organization sponsors seminars and webinars and provides educational materials to members of the estate planning profession, such as a Massachusetts living trust or estate attorneys, and to concerned individuals who want to learn more.

A Massachusetts elder law attorney can assist you with issues regarding financial wellness, such as budgeting, insurance, tax planning and investing, or work with you to develop a plan for charitable giving, organizing important documents or protecting the financial interests of your non-traditional family. By promoting National Estate Planning Awareness Week, the experts at NAECP are confident that more people will discover that estate planning is not just about what happens after you die, it’s about improving the quality of your life.

To take full advantage of National Estate Planning Awareness week, be proactive in creating or updating the estate and financial plans that will most benefit you and your family.

• Organize your important documents and make a list of assets and liabilities.
• Make a list of your financial advisers.
• Identify your goals, including retirement plans, goals for charitable giving, goals for your children or other beneficiaries and for your long-term healthcare.
• List the questions you would like to discuss with an estate planning professional.
• Interview a Massachusetts elder lawyer, ask how many years of experience they have in estate planning, what and how fees are charges and if they offer an introductory meeting free-of-charge.
• Bring your documents and lists to the initial meeting.
• Discuss your goals with the attorney and see if you believe he is the right person to assist you.

It will take more than one week to develop or update your plans, but with proper preparation you can make the most of your initial meeting and save many hours of billable time. But what’s more important, by using National Estate Planning Awareness Week to kick-start your estate planning, you will be providing emotional and financial security for your loved ones and peace of mind for yourself.

Why choosing an elder law specialist is best for you and your parents

Elder law attorneys can provide the best solutions to financial and legal plans for your loved ones.

Elder law attorneys can provide the best financial and estate planning solutions for your loved ones.

If you are responsible for elderly parents or relatives, you already know you have many issues to consider. Hiring an elder law attorney – a person that specializes in the laws concerning seniors – is a smart move. If your relative has considerable assets or complicated financial issues, you need the services of an elder attorney; a person that knows about estate planning, living trusts, nursing home issues, and probate. All of these issues can be handled by an elder law specialist.

An estate planning attorney or estate planning lawyer helps seniors plan their wills. Often this means selecting a power of attorney who acts in your place for financial purposes. An attorney can help you with problems that arise from appointing a power of attorney with financial institutions. A planned will details who will acquire what property and money when you die. The will can include bank accounts, IRAs, property, jewelery and expensive collections. A complicated binding document like this demands the expertise of an estate planning attorney.

A living trust attorney can help seniors with different types of trusts used to manage their assets. For example, there are revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and supplemental needs trusts. Each one has a different purpose and reason for being formed. A MA elder attorney will know all the ins and outs to select the best trust for you or your relative.

A Massachusetts elder lawyer is qualified to help you with any number of important issues. Some of these include disability planning, long term health care decisions, nursing home issues, Medicaid, Medicare, and even at-home care. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney is always ready to help the elderly find the best way to plan their estates. Estate planning is a complex legal issue that only a good Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can handle.

Do you have an elderly relative that has to go into a nursing home? A massachusetts nursing home attorney is qualified to help you assess your financial situation and interpret the many laws that apply. It is a complicated and confusing issue to tackle alone. A good attorney can help your family keep some of their money while still giving your relative good quality care. A lawyer can help you with Medicare, insurance plans, and Medicaid – all ways of paying for long term health care.

An experienced nursing home attorney can help you decide where your elderly relatives will live. An assisted living community may be a better option than a nursing home, or perhaps your elderly relatives just need some help to live in their own home. A qualified Massachusetts nursing home attorney can help you find the best long term care solution for your family members or friends.

Do you want to tackle the probate issue that come up when an someone dies? A probate attorney can help you plan for this process. You can make a will ahead of time, so it is available when probate occurs. Often in probate a will is examined and property is appraised. Some property can avoid probate – this is why a good probate attorney should advise you of the issues at hand.

When seeking sound financial planning for an elderly relative or friend in Massachusetts, contact an elder law attorney to help you with the complex laws and issues that can make this process difficult. You’ll be happy you did, and your relatives will be glad you took the time to find them the best solutions for their financial and legal plans.

Deferrals and Exemptions for Mass Elderly Tax

Massachusetts offers tax deferrals and exemptions for elderly

Massachusetts offers tax deferrals and exemptions for elderly

When it comes to Estate Planning several laws implemented that allow senior citizens to reduce the amount they have to pay on property tax and/or be able to defer the tax payments during their life span.

In order to be eligible for these tax bill reductions, you or your loved one must resided in Massachusetts and be over the age of 65.

The way the Massachusetts elderly tax deferral works is that it allows a senior homeowner to postpone property tax payments until the differed amount reaches 50 percent of the property value. During the deferral time frame, the tax amount gains 8 percent of interest annually, but depending on local property tax policies, the rate can be even lower.

As mentioned before, to be eligible for this benefit, the claimant must be 65 years or older, must be a resident of Massachusetts with property for five years, and have lived in the state for the last 10 years. There’s no cap on the assets claimed by the applicant, can’t surpass an income of $20,000-$40,000. For further details, check with your local town about income level requirements.

There are also a few tax exemptions for senior citizens available as well in Massachusetts. For the most part, these exemptions have a much stricter requirements and asset limitations, which can vary from town to town.

If you would like to learn more about Massachusetts Elderly property tax exemptions and deferrals, and how to apply, please contact your Massachusetts elder law lawyer at Adam Tobin Law Offices today!