Planning for Life

Why Trusts Work Better than Durable Powers of Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 23, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

Margolis-bloom-d'agostino-revocable-trusts-Wellesley

Everyone should have a durable power of attorney in place, at least as long as they have anyone to trust to step in for them to handle financial and legal matters if they become incapacitated. We all are at risk of incapacity, whether from illness or injury, whether temporary or permanent. Of course, this risk rises as we get older.

Without someone in place to handle legal and financial matters, bills can go unpaid, contracts can't be signed, homes can't be refinanced, leases can't be terminated, investments go unmonitored and unadjusted, and families often fight over who's in charge. The remedy of seeking court-appointed conservatorship is expensive, cumbersome, and time-consuming. It's best that you pick your own person or people for this role.

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Topics: durable power of attorney, revocable trust

The First Step on the Thinking Ahead Roadmap: Choose Your Financial Advocate

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 16, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

Financial-assets-security-trusts-margolis-and-bloom-dagostinoA team of a gerontologist, a senior advocate attorney and an actuary have developed an extremely accessible tool to assist seniors in planning for their financial security. Unfortunately, as seniors age they often lose their financial acumen and can become the victims of financial fraud and abuse.

Gerontologist Marti DeLiema of the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, attorney Naomi Karp, formerly of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and actuary Steve Vernon recommend that every senior choose a financial advocate to manage their daily finances, deal with health insurance, manage investments, and pay bills related to the home when the time comes. The financial advocate may be a family member or a professional. Either way, on their website, the Thinking Ahead Roadmap, the three list the factors to consider in making your choice.

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Topics: baby boomers, financial planning, durable power of attorney

Get Your S*** Together Estate Planning Site

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 19, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis
 

I called my estate planning book Get Your Ducks in a Row. Chanel Reynolds, a young mother in Seattle whose husband died in a bicycle accident, is much more direct. Her website on estate planning is called GetYourShitTogether.org.

On top of her grief when her husband died, Ms. Reynolds was panicked about how she was going to take care of and raise her daughters and things as simple as how to access financial accounts on line.  If she and her husband had taken a few relatively simple and cost-effective steps in advance, it would have saved her a tremendous amount of time and stress when her husband died.

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Topics: Estate Planning, durable power of attorney, will

AskHarry Podcast Episode 1: Planning Steps Seniors Can Take for their Protection

Posted by Estey Masten on September 24, 2020

estate-planning-steps-seniors-podcast-Wellesley-MA-02481

Welcome Larry Frolik to the AskHarry podcast

The first episode of the AskHarry podcast features retired University of Pittsburg Law School Professor Larry Frolik, who sets the stage for Baby Boomers who may be starting to wonder about how to best plan for the next few decades of their lives. How can seniors set themselves and their families up for stress-free golden years?

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Topics: baby boomers, incapacity, seniors, durable power of attorney, Older Americans, HIPAA release

Document Execution in the Time of Coronavirus

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 31, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

document-execution-coronavirus-shutdown-estate-planning-Wellesley-MA

Those who are fortunate can continue to work virtually during the coronavirus shutdown. Lawyers are largely in that group. We can continue to communicate, draft documents, file papers in court or at the registry of deeds, and even hold some court hearings telephonically. Of course, a conference call or even a videoconference does not have the immediacy of an in-person meeting, but it's possible to keep moving forward.

One challenge for estate planning attorneys is how to assist clients with executing their documents, which we had almost always done in person in the past. Here are a few solutions or "work arounds" we've come up with so far:

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Topics: will in massachusetts, durable power of attorney, health care proxy, document execution

How Can You Help Your Aging Parents from a Distance?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 28, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

coronavirus-COVID-19-aging-parents-HIPAA-health-care-proxy-Wellesley-MA

If your parents are getting on in years, you may be assisting them with their finances and other matters, such as medical visits and shopping. You may live close by and be able to visit weekly or more often. Or you may live far and way before the coronavirus, have been visiting every few months. Either way, due to COVID-19, you may not be able to visit right now, whether because flights are no longer available, you're working more than full-time home-schooling your children, your parents' residence has barred visitors, or you yourself are not safe because you have to continue to go out in the world. The last may especially be the case if you are a medical professional.

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Topics: durable power of attorney, HIPAA release, health care proxy, coronavirus

6 Rules of Thumb in Choosing An Agent Under A Durable Power of Attorney

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 25, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

durable-power-of-attorney-estate-planning-Wellesley-MA

Our clients often have to make difficult choices when deciding who to name as their agent or agents on their durable powers of attorney. Married clients usually name each other and, if they have children, one or more as alternates. Unmarried clients or married clients whose spouses have dementia usually name children, if they have them.

Questions about choosing a durable power of attorney
But what if you don't have children, or you don't have children who you can trust with this responsibility? Or what if you have several children, how do you choose among them? Will picking one child over another create resentment and cause friction among your children? On the other hand, would naming several create the opportunity for continuing conflicts?

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Topics: durable power of attorney

Why Would Anyone Do Estate Planning? A Lot of Bang for the Buck

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 24, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

estate-planning-attorney-will-durable-of-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Why would anyone want to partake in estate planning? It takes time. You have to deal with lawyers. And to talk about your death or disability. It may bring up contentious issues with a spouse or children. It's not urgent, since nothing is likely to happen to you tomorrow, or even in the next few years. It costs money.

So, why should you take time out of your busy life to commit to estate planning? The answer is that there are few other simple steps you can take that will could have as great an impact on your family's welfare. The cost-benefit trade off is tremendous.

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Topics: durable power of attorney, will, HIPAA release, health care proxy, revocable trust

What Do You Do When the Bank is Unreasonable?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 2, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

agents-durable-power-of-attorney-estate-planning-Wellesley-MA

We advise our clients to execute durable powers of attorney to make sure that someone can step in and take care of their legal and financial matters in the event of incapacity. Sometimes, individuals use these documents to take advantage of seniors and on very rare occasions, banks are held responsible when that happens. As a result, they are often reluctant to accept durable powers of attorney for their intended purpose. This can cause real problems and costs for families.

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Topics: durable power of attorney

What does it mean to be an agent under a durable power of attorney?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 14, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

durable-power-of-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Have you been asked to serve as an agent (or "attorney-in-fact" to use the technical term) under a durable power of attorney in Massachusetts, but you're not totally sure about your duties and responsibilities? Then you're not alone. Here's a primer.

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Topics: trusts, guardianship, Estate Planning, durable power of attorney

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