Thursday, April 26, 2012

Everyday Law for Seniors - Recommended Book for Elder Law Issues

Everyday Law for Seniors is a book recently featured in the New York Times column, The New Old Age. This book covers topics for seniors and those who care for them from retirement strategies, housing options, and long-term care to federal benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If you need answers to confusing legal issues, this book provides essential information in clear language about timely topics such as:
  • reverse mortgages
  • long-term care insurance
  • powers of attorney
  • guardianship
  • elder abuse. 
As New York Times writer Paula Span mentions in her review, "Even the most helpful book can’t substitute for the individualized advice of an elder attorney, but this one looks very useful for older people and their families." A good place to find an elder law attorney licensed to practice in your state is the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Their website is

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Probate Law in Massachusetts Now in Effect

On March 31, 2012, the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC), G. L. c. 190B, went into effect and dramatically altered probate and estate administration practice in Massachusetts. For the past two years, the MUPC Implementation Committee, consisting of Probate and Family Court judges, registers, court staff and members of the bar have worked tirelessly to develop new court forms, procedures, rules, revised filing fees and educational materials to assist court staff and practitioners transition to the new law.

The new MUPC forms, an online procedural guide and other valuable resources, including all articles of the Code, are currently available on the Probate and Family Court website, MUPC hubpage, and will be updated periodically.
The version of the Code that went into effect on March 31, 2012 does not include technical changes to the MUPC, the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (MUTC), or revised filing fees that were incorporated in the comprehensive bill (S 2128) which is still pending in the Legislature. Due to the pending legislation, the Uniform Fee Schedule that is effective as of March 31, 2012 does not include specific references to actions and pleadings that will be utilized under the MUPC. Once the Legislature has acted, the Probate and Family Court will post a revised Uniform Fee Schedule.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Life Insurance Can Be Key To Financial Planning for Your Special-Needs Child

Life Insurance's Role in Setting Up a Trust for a Special Needs Child

A brief excerpt from an article on
An attorney can help you set up a special-needs trust -- an important tool if you think your child will require government help. A special needs trust holds assets for your child, and can be named as a beneficiary for life insurance. A trustee, usually a family member, distributes money to take care of your child. When set up properly, a special -needs trust provides money to maintain your child's quality of life and preserves eligibility for government benefits.

The trust shouldn't be generic or inflexible, but designed specifically for your child, says Diedre Wachbrit Braverman, a special-needs estate attorney in Boulder, Colo.

Braverman, whose brother has severe autism, speaks from experience; she helped her parents set up a trust. She recommends working with a special-needs attorney -- not just an estate attorney. The Academy of Special Needs Planners provides a search tool to find attorneys. She also recommends finding a knowledgeable life insurance agent.

Life insurance plays an important role because most families cannot save enough money for their children's lifetime needs, and the coverage provides security in case a parent dies prematurely.
A growing number of life insurance companies have established units for special-needs planning. MassMutual started its SpecialCare program in 2004. The company worked with The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to develop coursework and the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation for agents who complete the schooling.

Read the rest of this article on