Elder Law

  • Elder Law Gems

    If you only have time to read just one of my columns in your life and you want the impossible, (which is to learn everything in elder law in one brief sitting) here are some succinct gems:

  • Elder law in a nutshell

    Estate planning: You need three basic documents: Will, Power of Attorney (POA) and Health Care Proxy (HCP).The POA is often more important than the Will. It gives power over your finances in the event you are disabled.

  • Estate Administration

    In 2012 Massachusetts legislature revamped the laws and procedures for Probate Administration of Wills and Estates. Probate means passing the assets from a deceased person to his or her heirs and/or beneficiaries by way of a Will or intestacy. Intestacy means a person dying without a Will.

  • Estate planning via retirement assets

    In 1978 the federal government began to allow employees to save pre-tax earnings in a variety of retirement accounts. The accounts would then grow untaxed until they were withdrawn starting at mandatory age 70 and a half. (The age now for Required Minimum Distributions “RMD” is 72 years old). Many of you, myself included, have some sort of retirement fund whether it is a 401k, 403b, IRA or 457 plan.

  • Legal Issues You Should Worry About

    It is impossible for me to advise you in one pithy legal column on all the legal and financial issues you should worry about. I will try, however, having reviewed several years’ worth of past columns of mine.

  • New Federal Law Restricts Asset Protection

    On February 8, 2006 the US Congress passed a law which radically restricts an elder’s ability to protect their assets in the event that he/she needs long term care (nursing home) placement.

  • Powers of Attorney

    If you have read my prior columns you know that there are three essential documents a person for the bare minimum estate plan: a will, a power of attorney and a health care proxy.

  • Recent Developments in Elder Law

    There are several recent elder law developments. I will address two today: 1) simpler probate rules 2) long term insurance protection against Medicaid estate recovery.

  • Should You Prepare Your Own Estate Planning Documents?

    A wise person once said, “he who represents himself has a fool for a client”. For estate planning? Yes. There are exceptions where the elder’s situation is so simple that she can get by without an attorney and create her own “estate plan”.

  • When should you start asset protection?

    When clients or the children contact me and say, “we are concerned about asset protection” I often ask “protection from what or from whom?” The answer is generally “the state” or “the nursing home.” In other words, they are trying to protect their savings from catastrophic health care costs.

  • When There Is No Will

    For those of you who have read past columns, you know that a Power of Attorney authorizing a person to manage your money while you are alive is often more important than signing a Will.

  • Why You Should Use an Elder Law Specialist

    Many lawyers in the Pioneer Valley are general practitioners. Only a few devote a significant part of their practice elder law and even less work exclusively in it.