Planning for Life

Why Must Centenarian Resort to GoFundMe to Pay for Home Care?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 6, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

The Boston Globe reported that Juliet Bernstein, a Cape Cod resident who turned 108 years old last Friday, has raised $72,000 on GoFundMe to pay for her home care. Since the article ran, she has raised another $50,000.

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Ms. Bernstein has had to resort to this source of funding because neither Medicare or MassHealth will pay for her care and her children don't have the means to contribute more than they have already. She has taken out home equity loans on her home and her oldest daughter, who is 80 years old herself, has taken out a reverse mortgage on her own home to help pay for her mother's care.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, home care, estate recovery

Case Muddies MassHealth Annuity Situation

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 29, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

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A recent Superior Court decision rules in MassHealth's favor regarding rights to payments from an annuity after the death of a nursing home resident's spouse. This muddies the waters with respect to this common MassHealth planning tool because the decision is the opposite of that made by another judge in a similar case.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, annuities

Let’s Clarify the MassHealth Notice Sent to All Members That is Causing Anxiety and Confusion

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on June 23, 2021

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MassHealth recently sent this notice about estate recovery out to many beneficiaries. We anticipate the agency will send this notice to another batch of members at the beginning of July, we are receiving a lot of calls from clients asking what this means and so here is a brief summary.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, Estate Planning, MassHealth lien, estate recovery

The Challenge of Protecting The House When One Spouse is in a Nursing Home

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 30, 2020

 By Harry S. Margolis

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Clients with a spouse in a nursing home can find themselves facing a difficult planning decision due to the large growth in value of their homes since they purchased them. When one spouse is in a nursing home, normally we advise transferring the house to the healthy spouse. But that can have unfortunate capital gains consequences, depending on which spouse passes away first and whether the surviving spouse sells the house.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, nursing homes, MassHealth, asset protection, capital gains

Remaindermen Cannot Force Sale of Property in Life Estate

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 5, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

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Owners of real estate sometimes transfer such property to their children while retaining the right to live in the property for the rest of their lives. Such ownership interests are referred to as "life estates" and give the life estate owners the exclusive right to occupy and even rent out the property during their lives. The children, in this case, are referred to as "remaindermen" and they have a real interest in the property, just no right of possession until the life estate owner dies.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, life estate

Court Rules MassHealth Must Return Annuity Payments

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 4, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

Annuity-MassHealth-long-term-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA

A common MassHealth planning technique for spouses of nursing home residents to protect assets is to purchase a qualifying annuity to shelter their assets above the spousal asset limit of approximately $130,000. (Read our legal guide Using Annuities for MassHealth Planning for Nursing Home Residents.) In order for such purchases not to be treated as disqualifying transfers, they must be "actuarially sound" and must name the Commonwealth as the remainder beneficiary "for at least the total amount of medical assistance, paid on behalf of the institutionalized individual."

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, annuities

How Does MassHealth Calculate Life Estates?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 12, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

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Life estates have long been a prime long-term care planning device for protecting the home from MassHealth estate recovery because they're quite simple to create. MassHealth recently changed its rules in terms of how it measures life estates when they are created or when property held in a life estate is sold.

What is a Life Estate?

A life estate is a form of joint ownership of real estate where ownership interests are divided by time. The so-called "life tenant" has the right to occupy the property during his or her life and to collect any rental income earned from the property. The life tenant also has the obligation of maintaining the property.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, life estate

M&B Attorneys Win Two MassHealth Trust Hearings

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 11, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

Applicants for MassHealth who have done advance planning involving sheltering assets in irrevocable trusts have been plagued by MassHealth denials of eligibility based on specious legal arguments. This results in fair hearing and court appeals that can sometimes take years. Two of our clients recently received favorable resolutions of their cases before the MassHealth Board of Hearings.



Power of Appointment

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In one case, argued by Margolis & Bloom partner Jeffrey A. Bloom, the applicant and her spouse had transferred their home into trust in 2011.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Why Most Married Nursing Home Residents Can Get MassHealth Coverage

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 20, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

Masshealth-nursing-home-care-annuities-elder-law-Wellesley-MA

Most married nursing home residents can obtain MassHealth coverage by using excess assets to purchase a qualifying immediate annuity. Rather, to be totally accurate, it's the spouse of the nursing home resident who must buy the annuity. The reason this works is that while MassHealth imposes limits on the amount of assets the nursing home resident and his spouse may own, there's no limit on the healthy spouse's income. This can be an important device to protect the financial security of spouses of nursing home residents.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

If Your Trust Isn't Working, Don't Recant, Decant

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 19, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Two cases decided by the Supreme Judicial Court, Morse v. Kraft (466 Mass. 92, 2013) and Ferri v. Powell-Ferri (476 Mass. 651, 2017), have confirmed and arguably expanded the power of trustees to transfer trust assets to new trusts. This allows them to better carry out the goals of the trust grantors who created the trusts in the first place. trust-recant-decant-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MAThe Ferri case permitted the trustee to transfer funds into a new, more restrictive trust even though the trust beneficiary had the right to withdraw the funds from the original trust, since the trustee had the power to distribute the funds to other beneficiaries.

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Topics: trusts, MassHealth planning, MassHealth

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