Planning for Life

What Can Non-U.S. Citizen Spouse Do to Avoid MA Estate Tax?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 29, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis


If you or your spouse (or both) are not U.S. citizens and you live in Massachusetts with a total combined estate of more than $1 million, your estate tax planning could get complicated. This is in large part because non-U.S. citizens are not eligible for the marital deduction which permits unlimited tax free gifts between spouses whether during life or at death.

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Topics: Massachusetts, estate taxes

Attorney Sarah Hartline Gets MassHealth Transfer Penalty Overturned

Posted by Estey Silva on March 24, 2020


The MassHealth Board of Hearings ruled in favor of Attorney Sarah Hartline’s client last week in a case involving a transfer of assets from a nursing home resident to her son and a question of whether the transfer was done with the intent to qualify for MassHealth benefits, which would result in a significant disqualification period.

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Topics: nursing homes, Massachusetts, MassHealth, elder law, Medicaid, disqualifying transfer

Massachusetts Taxes Real Estate in Estates of Non-Residents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 24, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis


That house on the Cape, Martha's Vineyard, or in the Berkshires, what happens when the owner dies and is not a Massachusetts resident? Is it subject to the Massachusetts estate tax?


And it's a bit complicated.

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Topics: Massachusetts, estate taxes, real estate

MassHealth PCA Program Can Pay Sons and Daughters to Care for Parents

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on March 2, 2015

By Patricia C. D'Agostino


Adult children of seniors who need care at home can be caught in a difficult bind—wanting to provide the kind of substantial hands-on assistance that will permit a parent to remain at home instead of moving to a long-term care facility, but finding themselves unable to do so given their own financial need to work and the demands of their jobs. The MassHealth Personal Care Attendant (“PCA”) program can offer a solution for many families who find themselves in this situation. The PCA program can provide a person with approximately $13 per hour to pay a caregiver (including a child or other family member, so long as they are not the parent’s legal guardian or spouse).  

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Topics: Massachusetts, MassHealth

Estate Planning Attorneys Beware -- Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 29, 2012

last-will-and-testament-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA-02481By Harry S. Margolis

Estate planning attorneys in Massachusetts have long been protected from liability for their mistakes by the fact that the people usually harmed are the potential beneficiaries of the estate, rather than the client for whom they drafted the will or trust. Beneficiaries who lose out have no standing to bring a malpractice action against the attorney because they didn't hire the allegedly negligent lawyer in the first place.

But now the Massachusetts Appeals Court has said that while a beneficiary may have no malpractice claim in the absence of an attorney-client relationship, he can sue as the intended third-party beneficiary of the contract between the attorney and the decedent to create an estate plan.

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Topics: Massachusetts, Estate Planning, malpractice

Beware Bankers Life Long-Term Care Insurance - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 7, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

Since we first published this post in 2012, our clients have had both good and bad experiences with accessing their long-term care insurance. In general, the more solid the company, the better the experience. Fortunately, many of the less solid companies have left the business, and older policies with such companies are fewer, but some still exist and the companies continue to put up roadblocks to getting coverage, often claiming to have lost paperwork that was sent to them.


We have found that tenacity and keeping good records of every contact with these companies ultimately results in coverage. Sometimes a demand letter from an attorney is also necessary. In fact, in most cases we've been able to convince the companies to reimburse the clients for our fees. Of course, all of this is a terrible burden to place on families already overstretched, doing their best to care for an ailing family member.

Here's the post:

An article on the CBS News website, "Some long-term healthcare policies not paying up," highlights the difficulties many owners of Bankers Life long-term care insurance policies are having trouble collecting. As the article reports, and as some of our clients have experienced, Bankers Life typically gives policyholders a major run around when they make claims, often claiming not to have received documentation that has been sent in.

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Topics: long-term care insurance, Massachusetts

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