The New York Times brings Medicaid home

Check out “You’re Probably Going to Need Medicaid” in The New York Times for an interesting read on the relevance of Medicaid.

Posted in Elder Law, MassHealth

SJC rules on Nadeau and Daley cases

Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in the cases of Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid Gavel (2) and Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. In the unanimous decision, the SJC held that the ability of an applicant for benefits to reside in property that has been transferred into an irrevocable trust does not render the corpus of the trust a countable resource in a MassHealth long-term care benefit application:

“We conclude that neither the grant in an irrevocable trust of a right of use and occupancy in a primary residence to an applicant nor the retention by an applicant of a life estate in his or her primary residence makes the equity in the home owned by the trust a countable asset for the purpose of determining Medicaid eligibility for long-term care benefits.”

This decision also clarifies that Federal law is controlling in a state’s eligibility determination, an issue which had been challenged by MassHealth over the past several years. Attorney Lisa Neeley represented the Plaintiff, Mr. Lionel Nadeau, before the SJC.  For the full decision, click here.

Posted in Elder Law, Estate Planning, MassHealth

Lisa Neeley’s article published in National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Spring 2017 NAELA Journal

Lisa_Neeley_06212016The NAELA Journal Spring 2017 issue includes Lisa Neeley’s article Limiting State Medicaid Agency Attempts to Expand the “Any Circumstances” Test: An Analysis of Massachusetts’ Multiyear Legal Battle Over the Use of Irrevocable Trusts in Long-Term Care Planning. The article explores the use of irrevocable trusts as a Medicaid long-term care planning tool, highlighting key Massachusetts cases to provide a thorough history of the litigation surrounding such planning and its current legal implications.

Posted in Elder Law, Estate Planning, MassHealth

Converting Medicaid to a block grant program will hurt seniors and the disabled

capitolRecently, there has been much discussion in the news about the possibility of Congress radically altering the Medicaid program by converting it into a block grant system. Such a change would convert Medicaid into a system in which each state would receive a finite amount of funds to administer its individual Medicaid program. These funds are referred to as “block grants.” Continue reading

Posted in Elder Law, MassHealth

Tracy Craig comments on estate planning documents for different states

Check out “Estate Planning for Snowbirds.”

Posted in Estate Planning

Lisa Neeley quoted in The Washington Post article on “medical divorce”

What do Medicaid cuts have to do with divorce? Read Lisa Neeley’s thoughts in Jordan Rosenfeld’s article “The GOP plan to roll back Medicaid might force more couples to get divorced” published today in The Washington Post.

Posted in Elder Law

Promissory Notes and MassHealth Planning

Promissory notes are a tool that attorneys have relied on in MassHealth planning. A promissory note is essentially a written promise to pay someone a certain amount of notemoney at a certain time. In this post, I use one of our recent successful appeals of a MassHealth decision to illustrate the regulatory requirements that a promissory note must meet to avoid being deemed a disqualifying transfer. In our case, “Glenda” applied for MassHealth long-term care benefits but was denied because MassHealth determined that a promissory note between Glenda’s husband and her son was a disqualifying transfer. Continue reading

Posted in Elder Law, MassHealth

Lisa Neeley to speak on the Legal Aspects of Aging

On March 21, 2017, the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers will host its “Overview of Legal and Physical Health Aspects of Aging” training in Framingham, Massachusetts as part of its Aging Training Series. Lisa Neeley will discuss the intersection of aging and the law. Click here for more information and to register for the event.

Posted in Elder Law

Your Medicaid Application Was Denied. Now What?

picture-for-lisa-medicaid-denialAs elder law attorneys, it is our goal to have each and every client’s Medicaid application to receive MassHealth benefits ultimately approved. However, the reality is that in some cases, an application may initially be denied.

Applications are denied for a variety of reasons. Continue reading

Posted in Elder Law, MassHealth

Is an Increased Massachusetts Estate Tax Exemption in the Cards?

dollar-660223_640Massachusetts remains in the minority of states that have not increased their estate tax exemption since the federal estate tax exemption was raised in 2001. The Massachusetts estate tax exemption is currently $1,000,000 per person (though it disappears if you die owning more than this amount) while the federal estate tax exemption is now $5,450,000 per person.

Legislation introduced in Massachusetts would increase the Massachusetts estate tax exemption to 50% of the amount of the federal estate tax exemption. The legislation would also eliminate the disappearing nature of the current exemption. The legislation is currently under review in committee. However, the legislation’s future is uncertain given the loss in tax revenues that would result from its enactment. Continue reading

Posted in Estate Taxes