I Am In Trust With Myself And Wife And A Church I Understand We Can Break The Trust If Both Party Agree What Type Of Attorney Do I Need

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The Trust Has 375.00 In It What Would Be A Fair Asking Price I Am 70 and My Wife Is 64?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

Most trusts have a small share article which allows the Trustee to make a final distribution to the beneficiary of a trust if the cost of administration of the trust is disproportionate to the value of the trust. With only $375, it certainly qualifies. Is it even worth consulting an attorney? The cost of the attorney’s time could exceed the value of what is in the trust.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; Quincy, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Salem, New Hampshire.

My moms deed was written in 2011, can it changed to an irrevocable trust now in 2014 without Medicaid problems?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The deed on my moms house is written as “tenants in common” to all her children. It was written up in 2011 like that. She wants an irrevocable trust written now on the deed. So that, if she goes into a nursing home, then Medicaid can’t take it. Can that be done without a problem if she goes into a nursing home within 5 years? or since it was written in 2011, does it look fishy to redo it in 2014?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

Your question implies that your mother deeded all of her ownership to her children in 2011. If that is so, she is about half-way through the look back period for Medicaid. The children have an option of creating a trust for your mother. This is called a third party trust. The trust beneficiary can be your mother. As long as the Trustee is not required to distribute the trust property to your mother, the trust will not be a countable asset if she needs to apply for Medicaid. This action will not extend the look back period for your mother .

If your mother retained a tenant in common interest with her children, then she has a right to be concerned. MassHealth will not force her to sell her home while she is living but will place a lien on the property and collect after your mother’s death through the probate process.

You will need to consult a Medicaid attorney in your area.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The elder law attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; Quincy, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Salem, New Hampshire.

If my mom goes into a nursing home next month, can her house be taken?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

this is what the deed is saying I,…,individually for consideration paid $1.00 grant to myself, for my life and the remainder in fee simple to my children as tenants in common. Also, if the daughter is living with the mom before she goes into a nursing home, can the house be taken?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

I believe that you are trying to determine if you mother can qualify for MassHealth and will MassHealth force your mother to sell the home.

It appears that your mother executed a life estate deed. If she did that over five years ago, she has passed the look back period and your mother will not be penalized. However, if it was not over five years ago, there will be a disqualification period applied to the transfer.

If you are still in the look back period, the live-in daughter may qualify as a caretaker child. Did she live with mom for at least 2 years? Did she provide care which delayed mom’s entry into the nursing home? If yes, your mother can deed the house to the caretaker child without penalty. This would require the other children to deed their interests back to mom and the caretaker child.

You should consult with an elder law attorney.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The elder law attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; Quincy, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Salem, New Hampshire.

Have an estate plan? Great – but you need to follow through

One of the most common mistakes people make in estate planning is that they finally create a complete, thorough, highly advantageous estate plan – and then forget to follow through and put it all into effect.

It’s not uncommon for people to have detailed documents drawn up, and then not get around to signing them. Or they create a trust, but forget to transfer assets in order to fund it. Or they decide whom to name as beneficiaries of their IRA, 401(k), bank and brokerage accounts – and then don’t fill out the paperwork to make the change.

A recent case involved Allen Kagan, a Minnesota pharmacist who had a $415,000 life insurance policy through his employer. Allen died of a sudden heart attack, and was survived by his new wife Arlene and three children from a previous marriage. [Read more…]

Be careful if you donate to charity for a specific purpose

Bernard and Jeanne Adler donated $50,000 to an animal shelter in their hometown of Princeton, N.J. The gift was to finance a new structure for large dogs and older cats (whose prospects for adoption are limited), and the structure was to be named for the Adlers.

Before construction began, however, the shelter merged with another organization. After the merger, the new organization announced plans to build a smaller structure in another town, without specific facilities for large dogs and older cats and without naming anything for the Adlers.

The Adlers went to court and demanded that the shelter return their $50,000 gift. [Read more…]

The danger of waiting too long to do estate planning

Some people never get around to writing a will or planning their estate until the last minute, when they have grown old and have a serious illness.

Other people write a simple will when they’re young, but never review or update it until something happens that makes them think that death is imminent.

While any estate planning is better than none, the vast majority of mistakes and problems occur when people procrastinate planning their estate and then try to do it in a hurry.

If you wait until the last minute, it might be very difficult to locate all the documents you need to properly execute an estate plan. And you might not have sufficient time to take advantage of all the techniques that are available to save taxes and properly take care of your heirs. [Read more…]

What you need to know about the new ‘trusteed IRAs’

If you don’t need all the money in an IRA after you retire, there can be big tax advantages in carefully leaving it to your children or other heirs. If it’s done right, the heirs can take out only the minimum required distribution each year, and the assets in the IRA can continue to grow tax-deferred for decades – and in some cases, for generations to come.

The problem with this planning technique is that it requires your heirs to be patient money managers. In the real world, many heirs withdraw the funds from an inherited IRA quickly, which destroys the tax advantages.

The traditional solution is to leave your IRA to a trust, in which a trustee can decide how to invest the IRA, when to make withdrawals from the IRA, and what distributions to make to your heirs. [Read more…]

Long-term low interest rates are wreaking havoc on many trusts

For decades, it was very common for trusts to be set up like this: “The trust income will go to the first beneficiary, and when the first beneficiary dies, the trust assets will go to a second beneficiary.”

Here are some common examples:

  • A couple sets up a trust with the income going to a child, and when the child dies, the assets go to their grandchildren.
  • A wife’s will creates a trust that pays income to her second husband, and when he dies, the assets go to her children by her first marriage.
  • A man sets up a trust where the income goes to his wife, and when she dies, the assets go to a charity.

That’s all well and good when interest rates are healthy. But over the last few years, interest rates have plunged to historic lows, and stayed there.

[Read more…]

Be Careful When Stating the Reason for Terminating an Employee

By: Geoffrey B. McCullough, Esq.

Question:  When an employer misstates the reasons for terminating an at-will employee is the misstatement a violation of public policy?

Answer:  If the termination “fall[s] within the scope of any of the recognized categories of public policy exceptions[,]” yes  In Massachusetts a general rule is non-union employees are employees-at-will and may be terminated at any time.  Exceptions to that rule are when the termination is unlawful, for example, when the termination is discriminatory or when the termination violates public policy.

The quotation above is taken from a public policy claim discussed in a March 12, 2014, Order of the U.S. District Court in the case Rosie Burgos v. GCA Services Group, Inc., (Lawyers Weekly No. 02-141-14) (O’Toole, J.) (USDC) (C.A. No. 12-11147-GAO).  In the case, Ms. Burgos, claimed her termination violated public policy because she was in fact terminated because her employer wished to reduce the workforce not because she was allegedly insubordinate.  But  her violation-of-public-policy claim failed because even if the employer, GCA Services, terminated her to reduce its workforce, public policy does not protect employees from the negative effects of a reduction in workforce.  [Read more…]

Here’s what to think about in a distributorship agreement

If you’re a manufacturer who’s thinking about using a distributor to expand your reach into new areas – or if you’re a distributor who wants to sell products for a new company – a good contract is the key to making the relationship work and avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts.

Here’s a brief list of the issues that you’ll want to think about and make clear in the agreement before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Does the distributor have exclusive rights within a certain territory? If so, how is that territory defined? Must the distributor meet certain quotas in order to maintain its exclusivity?
  • Is the distributor also allowed to sell products made by the manufacturer’s competitors?
  • What reports must the distributor provide? Should they include forecasts of future orders, so the manufacturer can better manage its inventory? [Read more…]

How does your company’s 401(k) plan measure up?

The IRS has conducted a survey of 1,200 different 401(k) plans from businesses of all shapes and sizes, and has created an interesting snapshot that allows you to compare your company’s plan to other plans across the country. Here’s what the survey shows:

  • 68% of plans provide employer matching contributions.
  • 41% allow employees to make election changes at any time, 22% allow them quarterly, and 13% allow them once each payroll period.
  • 5% of plans have automatic contributions unless the employee opts out. Within those plans, 43% of employees contribute at the default rate. 29% contribute more, 7% contribute less, and 21% contribute nothing.
  • 54% of plans require one year of service to contribute. Only 13% allow immediate contributions.
  • 72% use involuntary cash-outs of post-termination balances.
  • 76% allow hardship withdrawals, and 65% allow loans.
  • 22% allow Roth contributions. Only 4% allow after-tax non-Roth contributions.
  • 96% allow catch-up contributions by employees who are 50 or older.
  • Only 1% allow investments in the employer’s stock.

Domino’s Pizza pays $9.75 million for ‘robocalls’

The Domino’s Pizza chain has agreed to pay $9.75 million to settle claims that it sent unsolicited phone calls and text messages to people’s cell phones.

The messages promoted the pizza chain and offered coupons. Consumers in three states filed a lawsuit claiming that the calls were made without their consent, and therefore violated a federal law concerning telephone privacy.

The federal law generally prohibits private companies from making calls to cell phones from a computer system that can automatically make the call without human intervention. Although the law doesn’t specifically mention text messages, some courts have ruled that it applies to texts as well. [Read more…]

Sweepstakes promotions can be a legal gamble

A lot of consumer companies market their products with sweepstakes or other games. But as the A&P grocery chain found out recently, there are a lot of legal issues that shouldn’t be left to chance.

The grocery company offered what it called the “A&P Frozen Food Month 2013 Sweepstakes,” and advertised that customers who bought $50 worth of frozen-food products would automatically be entered in a contest to win $350 gift cards.

The New York Attorney General’s office complained. In the end, A&P settled the case by paying more than $100,000 in fines and hiring a new compliance officer.

What did A&P do wrong? [Read more…]

‘Black Swan’ case highlights danger of unpaid internships

A recent court decision involving two unpaid interns who worked on the movie “Black Swan” shows the danger that companies can get themselves into with internships. If you offer an unpaid internship program – or even if you just bring on an unpaid intern from time to time, perhaps even as a favor to someone – it’s a good idea to carefully review the rules.

Unpaid internships have burgeoned in the last few years, as the practice has grown far beyond college students on summer break. With a tight job market, many out-of-work professionals are looking for internships as a way to get a foot in the door or to explore a career change.

As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor is stepping up enforcement of violations.

The truth is that there are relatively few situations in which an unpaid intern can legally work in a for-profit business. That’s because a valid internship program must be primarily for the intern’s benefit, rather than for the employer’s benefit. Otherwise, the intern is basically an employee and must be paid minimum wage. [Read more…]