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The Basic Rules of Nursing Home Medicaid Eligibility

For all practical purposes in the United States the only “insurance” plan for long-term institutional care is Medicaid.  Medicare only pays for approximately 7 percent of skilled nursing care in the United States.  Private insurance pays for even less.  The result is that most people pay out of their own pockets for long-term care until they become eligible for Medicaid  While Medicare is an entitlement program, Medicaid is a form of welfare-or at least that’s how it began.  So to

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The Probate Process

What is the Probate Process? Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s property, known as the “estate,” is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will).  The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year.  However, substantial distributions from the estate can be made in the interim. What property is subject to the probate process? The probate estate includes all property held in the decedent’s name.  Certain kinds of

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Estate Planning Terms

No one likes to think about one’s own death.  However, planning ahead can help your family avoid unnecessary complications, delay and expense.  This may be done through wills, trusts, joint ownership, and life insurance.  In addition, modern estate planning also includes “life” planning through powers of attorney and health care proxies.  These enable someone else to act for you in the event of your incapacity.  Understanding the following terms is the first step toward planning your estate.  However, no estate

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Tax Update – Fiscal Cliff

Congress passed legislation, which President Obama indicated he would sign, to avoid the fiscal cliff.  The legislation would allow tax rates to rise on the nation’s highest earners while also extending dozens of tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Specifically, the bill: Raises the top tax rate to 39.6% for married couples earning $450,000; single taxpayers earning $400,000.  These amounts will be indexed for inflation. Raises long-term capital gains and qualifying dividends tax rate to 20% (from 15%) for taxpayers in

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LEGAL UPDATE: New Massachusetts Homestead Legislation Signed Into Law

On December 16, 2010 Governor Patrick signed into law “An Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead”, a comprehensive revision of the Massachusetts declaration of homestead law. Under prior law, a declaration of homestead protected up to $500,000 of equity in your primary residence.  This protection was available only if the homeowner actually filed a declaration of homestead at the registry of deeds.  Prior law contained several confusing provisions that sometimes disadvantaged homeowners. The new Homestead Legislation goes into effect on

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