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

Let’s Get Physical: Body Donation in Massachusetts

Most of us are familiar with the small heart or other symbol on a driver’s license signifying grave-3that a person is an organ donor. But what if you would like to donate your entire body—organs and all—“to science,” as it is commonly phrased? How does one go about doing this? This post discusses how estate planning can address body donation; note that this discussion covers only the donation of one’s entire body, not the donation of one’s organs.

Continue reading

Posted in Anatomical Gifts, Estate Planning

MassHealth’s Proposed Changes to Pooled Trusts Highlighted in The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe recently published an article concerning MassHealth’s proposed regulatory ban for transfers of assets to pooled trusts for individuals over the age of 65. The article profiles a typical client who might use a pooled trust, an elderly and disabled gentleman with minimal savings who uses his trust funds to pay for the services of a companion caregiver.

The client is a nursing home resident. By using the pooled trust, he is able to pay for basic essentials and enjoy meals out at local restaurants. If the pooled trust is eliminated as an option for him, presumably he would then be forced to spend down the remaining funds in the trust on nursing home care—which would be depleted in a matter of months—or else be disqualified from receiving MassHealth long-term care benefits.

Continue reading

Posted in Elder Law, MassHealth, Pooled Trusts

Oral Arguments in Nadeau v. Thorn

The oral arguments in Nadeau v. Thorn were heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week on January 5, 2017. Mirick O’Connell’s Lisa Neeley argued on behalf of the Appellant, Lionel C. Nadeau. Please click here to view the arguments. We will update you once the case is decided.

Posted in Elder Law, Estate Planning, MassHealth