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Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fact or Fiction: Estate Planning Demystified!


Now is a great time to start the estate planning process. Begin by attending one of Julie Low’s complimentary workshops, Fact or Fiction: Estate Planning Demystified! Our next workshop dates are Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 10 a.m.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Benefits of Comprehensive Estate Planning

 

Your personal estate encompasses all of your life assets, including cash assets, real estate, personal property (automobiles, jewelry, art, furniture, etc.), as well as items of sentimental value.  In the past, estate planning traditionally focused on how best to align the distribution of one’s accumulated lifetime assets with one’s values and desires, and on making that process as efficient as possible.  Modern estate planning involves more than just the distribution of one’s lifetime assets, however.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What are the Essential Legal Documents?

Most people think if you have a Last Will & Testament and/or a Trust, then your estate plan is complete. Come to our Essential Legal Documents Workshop on Thursday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. and learn why your estate plan is not complete without Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy, HIPAA Authorization & Living Will documents. This complimentary workshop will be presented by Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Julie Low of the Law Office of Julie Low. It will be hosted by Emeritus Cherry Hill at 220 Conant Street in Danvers. Click here to register or call 978-922-8800.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Visit EstatePlanning.com™ for a Wealth of Consumer Information!

My firm's membership in WealthCounsel® and ElderCounsel® was one of the best decisions I made when I started my law practice in 2010. Yes, it was a huge financial investment and even a little scary because I didn't even have a single client lined up, but one I felt was necessary to provide clients with the best planning experience possible.

These companies equip me to serve my clients with the highest standards of practice excellence by providing a collegial nationwide network of estate planning and elder law attorneys from which to draw upon; drafting software programs that create the most comprehensive, thorough, and customized estate plans for my clients; and continuing education to ensure that I stay up to date with changes in the law and the latest trends in estate planning.

Now my clients and /or prospective clients can also enjoy the benefits of my membership by visiting EstatePlanning.com, a website designed with the estate planning client audience in mind. EstatePlanning.com provides my clients with opportunities to learn more about estate planning, to attend free webinars, such as the one coming up on Friday, June 21st entitled, "Life Expectancy and Health Care Planning," download a free "Six-Step Checklist Toward Successful Estate Planning," or learn why most estate planning attorneys think that DIY or online wills and trusts are a huge mistake!

One of my favorite quotes is "Whatever you are, be a good one." WealthCounsel® and ElderCounsel® are just two of the many tools I use in my practice to be sure I am a good estate planning, special needs planning and elder law attorney!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Health Insurance Companies Urged to Cover Personal Location Devices

 

Currently, the purchase of and expenses related to a “Technology-Assisted Tracking Device” are not covered under health benefits plans in Massachusetts. Patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or Autism Spectrum Disorder can me prone to becoming lost or wandering from a given location. In addition to the panic and heartache this causes family members and caregivers, it often requires many hours of time from the police, fire department or other civil services. A quality “locator” device is invaluable to everyone, saving time, money and insuring less unsupervised time for the patient.

On January 16, 2013 Mr. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston, and five other people filed a petition to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Financial Services (accompanied by a bill, House, No. 956) that would make this service available for coverage by health insurance. Filed as an amendment to Chapter 118E of the General Laws, the Act states:

               “A health benefit plan shall provide full coverage, subject to all applicable co-payments, co-insurance, deductibles and out of pocket limits, for insured individuals who are diagnosed by a licensed physician with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or Autism Spectrum Disorder, to obtain a Technology-Assisted Tracking Device if they or their guardian choose.”

The Act also clearly defines necessary capabilities of any wearable device such as being waterproof, work indoors or undercover and be-tamper resistant. We recommend that you read the short Bill and contact members of the Legislature to express support for this Amendment.

To read a copy of the Bill:

http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H956

To contact a member of the Joint Committee on Financial Services: http://www.malegislature.gov/Committees/Joint/J11

To find your House or Senate representative: http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Search

To read about Lojack's Safety Net devices: http://www.lojack.com/People-at-Risk


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Planning" vs. "Crisis"

 We predominantly get two types of calls at the Law Office of Julie Low.  One is for "planning" and the other is for "crisis".  Estate "planning" involves the creation of specific documents such as a Will, a Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Authorization and Living Will.  Having all these documents in place empowers your family members to act on your behalf if you are unable to do do.  We get "crisis" calls when these specific documents are not in place, a loved one is anticipating a move to a skilled nursing facility, and there is fear of losing all assets to pay for that care.  Although we love "planning" calls, we are uniquely equipped to handle crisis calls, too.  If you would like to learn more about estate planning, then please attend one of our bi-monthly workshops, Fact or Fiction:  Demystifying Estate Planning.  To see our upcoming schedule of workshops and/or to register, please click on Workshops at the top of this website.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

What is a Power of Attorney & Who Needs One?

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  At the Law Office of Julie Low, we often get calls from people who haven’t done any estate planning and now find themselves in a crisis situation with regards to a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease.  If you become sick or disabled, either temporarily or permanently, who will make financial decisions for you?  A  Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to do just that.  If you cannot pay bills, get records or make other financial decisions due to physical or mental limitations, your family may be prevented from helping you.  Arranging for a Power of Attorney now can save the $4000-$5000 in legal fees that a conservatorship or guardianship process can cost.  To learn more about Power of Attorney and other important estate planning documents, please attend one of our educational workshops.  Dates, times and further information are available here.   Or log on to www.lawofficeofjulielow.com and click on Seminars.  To learn more about National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, click here!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping Seniors Happy at Home

Maintaining a sense of independence is so important for the elder community.  The sad truth is, many seniors, and those who love and care for them, do not know about the many services that are available to them.  One non-profit, national organization is the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).  PACE promotes quality integrated care and cost-effective services for older adults who need personal attention and family support to stay independent and out of a nursing home.  

The Law Office of Julie Low is familiar with these programs and other community options that you may have not considered.  Make sure you know all your options by contacting Elder Law Attorney Julie Low today at 978-922-8800.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Caregiver Agreements in Current Events

 

The New York Times published an article earlier this month featuring an artist who acted as the primary caregiver for her developmentally disabled sister.  After their mother quickly and unexpectedly passed due to pancreatic cancer, Beverly McIver began to look after and live with her older sister. This story is captured in the documentary, Raising Renee, which delves into the ups and downs of a sibling caregiver arrangement. A 10-minute segment on the radio program "The Take Away," featured on WGBH, speaks with Beverly McIver and the filmmakers to provide an empathetic view of a caregiver situation, and the impact it has on the lives involved. Even though the basis of such an arrangement is an extraordinary amount of love, it is not to say that living with it is easy.  

 

If you are planning for a child with special needs, it is important to consider what will happen when you pass.  Who will take care of your child? How can you provide for your child's wellbeing? Where will they be able to stay? What happens if your appointed caregiver or Trustee can't handle the situation? What would you do if a loved one asked such a great responsibility of you?

 

You shouldn't feel trapped by these questions. Use your uncertainties to guide an open discussion with whomever you are thinking of naming to provide care for your child. A Special Needs Planning attorney can help guide your discussions with your loved ones, and provide support during the difficult decisions and conversations.  Oftentimes, attorneys act as co-trustees for Supplemental Needs Trusts, working closely with a family member to ensure that the emotional and logistical support is in place for the individual throughout their lifetime. Creating a partnership for the sole-benefit of your loved one is an excellent way to give yourself peace of mind, and one that can begin with a simple conversation with a Special Needs attorney. If you think that you or a loved one may benefit from Special Needs Planning, take the first step towards a better life; contact an attorney who is dedicated to finding the best possible solutions for you.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quiz: Can my loved one stay at home alone safely?

1-18-12- Quiz: Can my loved one stay home alone safely?

Though it can be emotionally difficult, it is important to assess whether your aging parent has reached a point where they are not safe to be home alone.  A Geriatric Care Manager can make this process easier for you, and may provide a variety of solutions to keep your loved one independent as long as possible. If you feel your loved one is no longer safe alone, take action immediately, and call an Elder Law Attorney and/or certified Geriatric Care Manager.  Use these professionals as a network of experts in order to obtain the best care possible for your loved one.

Some questions to guide your discussion:

Quiz- Can My Loved One Stay at Home Alone?

True or False

  • My loved one is able to safely prepare nutritious meals.
  • My loved one eats and drinks well without supervision.
  • My loved one is steady on his or her feet.
  • My loved one is able to get in and out of the shower or tub safely.
  • My loved one keeps himself or herself clean.
  • My loved one can get dressed without assistance.
  • My loved one can get to the bathroom as necessary.
  • My loved one has interests and friends to keep life interesting.
  • My loved one is cautious with the stove, candles, irons, and other sources of heat.
  • My loved one is not likely to fall asleep while smoking.
  • My loved one does not have to navigate stairs, or if he or she does, it can be done safely.
  • My loved one can call someone if the need arises who can be there within a short time.
  • My loved one has access to transportation to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor and dentist appointments, and social occasions.
  • I feel at ease during the day and sleep well at night knowing that my loved one is home alone.

As you answer each question, consider their impact on the overall health and wellbeing of your loved one. The more questions answered "False" indicates a higher probability that your loved one needs extra care and supervision. For some, an Adult Day Care Program will be sufficient, but others may need professional care provided by an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home.  If you have concerns, reach out to an Elder Care professional. You do not need to go through this alone!

 

Content gathered from <http://public.findlaw.com/elder/le25_8quiz.html>

 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

What does the MUPC mean for you?


Massachusetts finally has an entire new set of probate laws after twenty years of debate. The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) was signed into law on January 15, 2009 and is intended to bring significant changes to the probate process and important reforms to probate procedure.  The MUPC was supposed to go into effect on January 2, 2012, but has recently been pushed back to March 31, 2012 to allow the legislature to make technical amendments and to help the court system, which is currently understaffed, prepare and make way for the myriad of changes the new Probate Laws will have on the courts’ administrative processes and forms.

 

The MUPC improves the process for administering probate. Probate is the process of gathering a deceased person's assets, paying all their debts and taxes, and distributing remaining property pursuant to the instructions left in the decedent's will.
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| Phone: 978-922-8800

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