McBloomLaw

The Best Ways to Give Money to Your Grandchildren

If you have grandchildren you can give them funds that can actually help them while teaching them about the importance of saving. By looking at certain ways on how you can provide them with gifts, you can avoid certain tax implications and perhaps give your loved ones a lesson on financial management.

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11 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan Before It’s Too Late

While most people lack a Will or any other type of estate plan, your having one puts you in good stead with yourself and your family. However, events in your life can drastically change your plans for distributing your assets.  It is always a very good idea that you need to meet with your estate planning lawyer to make sure changes to your Will or other documents are not necessary and that your documents reflect your intentions in light of new developments.

Here are 11 reasons why you need to update your estate plan before it’s too late:

  1. 1. You got divorced or remarried. You want your Will and other documents to include your new spouse and/or to delete your ex-spouse. You may want to change your life insurance policy and 401K so as to designate your new spouse or someone else as beneficiary.
  2. 2. If you have a blended family. If you remarried and your new spouse has children, do you want to provide for them? Simply naming children in your Will is not sufficient since this may not include stepchildren.
  3. 3. You want to add a new beneficiary or charity. You may also want to change a charity or delete a named beneficiary who may have passed away or is no longer in your favor.
  4. 4. A child or other beneficiary has special or changed needs. For instance, your grandchild has autism or a beneficiary has been severely injured and needs permanent care. You can establish a Special Needs Trust that can provide for your beneficiary without jeopardizing their receipt of government provided public benefits.
  5. 5. You have received additional substantial assets. You may want to consider placing real estate or other substantial assets in a trust or a “Life Estate Deed” to avoid probate.
  6. 6. You moved to a new state. For instance, if your new state is a community property state and your old state was based on equitable distribution, then your estate plan should reflect the change and be in accordance with the state’s tax and probate laws.
  7. 7. You want to provide for the education of children or grandchildren. There are a number of trusts that your estate planning lawyer can advise you on that can pay college tuition and even room and board.
  8. 8. You have bought or sold a business. If you bought a business, your estate plan should include a succession plan. If you have sold a business, you may want to distribute the assets in a certain way or hold them in a trust.
  9. 9. Do you have a durable power of attorney or health care power of attorney? Or, if you do, you may want to change whomever you appointed because the individual passed away or you feel someone else should have the authority.
  10. 10. Do you have a living Will? Massachusetts does not have a Living Will Statute, but a Living Will is still helpful in giving direction to your family how your last moments of your life should be handled. If you have one, review it to see if you wish to change any of your intentions. As we get older our intentions change.
  11. 11. If you have not reviewed your overall estate plan in the past 3 to 5 years, do so. Meet with your estate planning lawyer to discuss new tax laws, new statutory laws, new issues in your life, and if they apply to your situation. Your attorney should sit down and review your estate plan with you to see if you missed anything or if new plans should be put into effect that can protect your estate or that considers new people in your life whom you wish to benefit.

Call Estate Planning Lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald

Consult estate planning lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald with an office in Westport, and Canton, Massachusetts. Attorney Bloom-McDonald has been representing the interests of the elderly and their families throughout the Commonwealth for over 25 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate, probate, and elder law.

Independent Senior Living How You Can Help

Senior living presents challenges not only to the aging individual but to family members concerned about their loved ones’ health and well-being. Placing a parent in a senior facility may be a viable or only option for some, but many seniors want to remain in their homes or apartments, or do not have the resources to be cared for in a facility. If your loved one can remain in the home, he or she may need your help.

Prepare the Home

Your parent may have physical and perhaps mental limitations that need to be addressed if he or she is to be safe in the house. To ensure their safety, go through the home and look to see what adaptive devices will make both of your lives easier:

  • – Walk-in bathtub. No need to worry about falling in the shower or having to step into or out of a slippery tub.
  • – Escalating chair for the stairs. This makes going up and down the stairs very easy and allows your parent to keep their upstairs bedroom.
  • – Kitchen devices. Electric can openers, easy-to-use wine bottle openers, a large toaster or microwave oven can make your parent’s ability to make and enjoy food that much easier. Lower shelves in the kitchen or install new ones that are easily accessible.
  • – Get a phone with large letters and numbers or install an amplified hearing device or one that types out the caller’s conversation. Teach your parent how to use facetime with a computer so you can observe their appearance and speech patterns.
  • – Have a PERS (personal emergency response services) device easily accessible so your parent can merely push a button to call for help if they fall or are experiencing a stroke or heart attack.
  • – Consider a camera in certain areas of the home so that you can see how your parent is doing at any time of the day or night. Get your parent’s permission, of course. There is also technology that allows you to remotely control locks, lighting, the TV, and the temperature.

Grocery Shopping and Meals

You no longer have to go to the grocery store, but can do so online where you can order whatever you want and have it delivered. A few times per week, you can have whole meals delivered by Meals on Wheels or other services.

In the alternative, take your parent shopping with you as this can provide them some exercise and time without being alone.

Health Measures

Medical concerns are primary with most seniors as is ensuring that your parent takes the medication that has been prescribed. There are “smart” pill bottles or dispensers that you and your parent can use to track medications. Some will retain the medication history and adherence data and automatically dispense the pills. Your parent is alerted by an audio and/or visual signal when it is time to take a certain medication.

Also, keep all medical appointments on your own calendar and arrange for transportation to and from appointments, if you are unable to take them, be sure someone accompanies your parent.

If necessary, you may need to hire a home health worker who can visit your parent for a few hours each day to ensure they are grooming themselves, eating and taking their medications. Your parent may qualify for financial assistance through the local council on aging or through Community MassHealth/Medicaid, or even VA Aid and Attendance Benefit.

Physical Activity

Keeping active is key to preserving strength, reducing the severity of illness and incidence of falls as well as maintaining emotional health. An activity as simple as walking a mile or 2 each day or strolling in a mall can be effective. Many seniors enjoy swimming, water aerobics, spin classes or other group activities. Dancing, yoga, golf, or having a personal trainer work with your parent once or twice per week can be a lifesaver. If your parent has a hobby, encourage them to keep at it.

Mental Stimulation

Many young people don’t read books anymore but your parent may still enjoy picking up a good book to read. You can make trips to the library or bookstore or encourage your loved one to do crossword puzzles, watch Jeopardy on TV or play a game on the computer; scrabble is a popular computer past-time for seniors. There are a variety of brain stimulating games and exercises on a computer or smartphone.

Social Interactions

Loneliness is a major issue for seniors. Because they may have difficulty getting around, or friends have passed, or moved away, they have few interactions. You are encouraged to visit a few times per week for an hour or so, but be careful on staying for too long if family dynamics cause tension. You should know how long you can comfortably stay.

If possible, see what senior community activities are available. Senior Centers, Churches and synagogues are great places to meet other seniors. There are softball teams, bowling, bicycling, wine clubs and other similar activities for seniors.

You can also participate by not only shopping with your parent but playing golf, gardening, or merely taking your mother or father out for breakfast or lunch. Have them over for dinner on occasion to interact with you and the grandchildren, especially at holiday time when everyone else is with their family also.

There are numerous ways to keep your parent or parents healthy and connected to you and the community. By preparing their home, using available technology and services geared toward the elderly and discovering what activities are in your community for seniors, your loved ones can truly enjoy their golden years.

Consult Elder Law Attorney Patricia Bloom-McDonald

Elder law is a special area of the law that involves estate planning, probate, health care concerns, public benefits and how the law impacts seniors. If you are a senior or have an elderly parent or loved one who has issues regarding health or other benefits, or you have other topics of concern about your aging loved one, call elder law attorney Patricia Bloom-McDonald. Your initial one-hour consultation is always complimentary.  You can reach her at 508-646-9888 or 781-713-4709 or through her website at www.McBloomLaw.com.

Selling a Home in Probate What You Need to Know

Probate proceedings in Massachusetts are governed by the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code or MUPC. If there is real estate in the decedent’s estate, the Will may have designated that the property go to a certain heir or other beneficiary, or that the property be sold and the assets distributed equally or in whatever shares the decedent intended.

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Choosing the Trustee for Your Special Needs Trust

If you want to ensure that the needs of your loved one(s) with disabilities are provided for, you should consider establishing a special needs trust. The following provides some information about special needs trusts and the importance of choosing a proper trustee–
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