Estate planning

  • Aging in Place

    What happens when an elder reaches the point where he or she can no longer live independently and be safe at home? Must he/she move in with a son or daughter or vice versa? What if that is not feasible? What options exist to provide in-home support so the elder can “age in place”?

  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning

    Here are a few examples of problems created by people who didn’t hire a professional or hired one that really didn’t know elder law.

  • Deeds Retaining Life Estates

    Newspaper legal notices often reflect elders deeding their real estate to their children for a dollar. What you don’t see in the notice is that the elder generally retains a life estate. I never recommend that a client transfer 100% ownership. Why not?

  • Do Irrevocable Trusts Protect Assets?

    I believe that death is not the worst thing to happen to an elder. A catastrophic illness or disease that saps your ability to enjoy life’s pleasure while costing you tens of thousands of dollars for care….that is a harder pill to swallow.

  • Don't delay - Finish your estate plan

    The older we get, the more obituaries we read of people our age, older or even younger. I am 58 years old and mortal. Death is inevitable for us all and is often preceded by disability.

  • Estate Planning – the Land of Procrastination

    Very few of us enjoy contemplating disability and death. We know, however, that the former often happens and the latter always happens.

  • Estate Planning for the 55+ Crowd

    The three core documents of an estate plan are the health care proxy, power of attorney and will. The first two are documents that anticipate that at some point you may be unable to make medical and financial decisions while alive but disabled.

  • Estate Planning Mistakes and Misconceptions

    Here are some common pitfalls and misconceptions about our laws that travel by word of mouth across backyard fences, across dining booths at the Blue Bonnet Diner and at church socials.

  • Financial estate planning issues you should worry about

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

  • If some superstars don’t have wills, why should I?

    The deceased rock music artist Prince is considered by many to have been a musical genius. He brokered many of his recording contracts, having little patience or interest in hiring attorneys. Along those lines, he chose not to engage in estate planning.

  • Probate avoidance at all cost?

    If you have spent any time in the court system you know that it is a hugely inefficient, time consuming and costly proposition. It doesn’t matter whether it is housing court, criminal court, district court or state or Federal court. It is often “hurry up and wait”. My elder law practice therefore devotes a fair degree of time and effort into avoiding court. The relevant court in my field is Hampshire Probate which recently moved from next to the Calvin Theatre to down near the Exit 18 ramp where the Clarion Hotel used to be.

  • Supplemental Needs Trusts

    I have written columns in the past discussing irrevocable trusts and living trusts. Irrevocable trusts are good devices for protecting assets in the event of nursing home placement because the asset is not titled in the name of the individual and cannot be accessed by the elder.

  • The Revocable or “Living” Trust

    There are generally two types of trusts used in estate planning: revocable or “living” trusts and irrevocable trusts. For this column I will discuss the simpler version, the revocable, or “living” trust.

  • What is the story with $15,000 gifts?

    Article from Gazette Financial Guide January 2020

    The $15,000 figure is a number that many people are familiar with, and yet, it is one of the most commonly misconstrued concepts of estate planning and elder law. Time and time again I hear “my accountant said the IRS lets me transfer/gift $15,000 per year.” That is true, but I say, so what? What is the REASON for doing that?

  • What is The Story With $15,000/Year Gifts?

    The $15,000 figure is a number that many lay people are familiar with. And yet, it is the most commonly misconstrued area of estate planning and elder law.