(978) 772-2442

Dedicated to the Highest Quality Estate Planning and Elder Care Law

Our firm is dedicated to the practice of estate planning and elder law and committed to offering the highest quality legal service. Our attorneys and staff treat our clients with dignity and compassion, providing informative, comprehensive, and understandable counsel. We are responsive to our clients' needs, balancing thoroughness with timeliness. Our attorneys provide zealous representation, always subscribing to the highest of ethical standards.

December 2019 Holiday Letter

Dear Clients, Friends, and Colleagues:

As many of you know, I celebrated 20 years of private practice in elder law and estate planning in 2019, yet we continue to evolve the practice. Specifically, we opened a satellite office in Ashby (10 Common Road) in May, and since it's a border town to New Hampshire, I was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar recently, as well. That has been a blessing for our clientele in that locale, and we look forward to expanding our offerings in that area.

It always seems timely to remind you of what services we provide, as that is also always evolving to keep pace with legislative changes and administrative dynamics:

Estate Planning: Create documents to preserve your wishes in the event of incapacity or death, minimize estate tax exposure, handle business succession/transition, and manage minor beneficiaries' inheritances or funds for those with physical, financial or other concerns.
Elder Law: Help families find and finance the care needs of a loved one, and navigate the State, federal, insurance, and personal resources available.
Probate Administration: Coordinate tax filings, oversee Court processes, and assist through the transfer of real estate and liquid assets until completion of the deceased person's affairs.
Trust Administration: Advise on management of independent trusts and those created by Wills, in order to handle taxes and beneficiaries correctly.
Real Estate: Oversee sales/purchases (including those within a Probate or Trust), resolve title issues (including Land Court and Probate complications), and negotiate government (including MassHealth) and permitting processes.
Mediation: Neutralize tensions and facilitate solutions when there is disagreement and dissension between family members regarding blended family issues, nursing home placement, or following a death.

You are receiving this annual calendar/newsletter mailing either as a new client in 2019, a client who has specifically asked to continue to receive this annual mailing, or a professional colleague. If you are a new client, please note that after this year, you will only receive a subsequent mailing if you call or email us (admin@attychew.com) to stay on the distribution list. Otherwise, we post the annual letter to our website each December so you can stay up-to-date on the legal news, even if you choose not to receive a calendar.

As we enter a new decade, our staff wishes you peace and hope,

Nancy

HOLIDAY OFFICE CLOSURE and CONTACT INFORMATION UPDATES

PLEASE BE ADVISED that the office will be closed from Friday, December 20, 2019, at 5:00 p.m., to Thursday, January 2, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. During that time, mail, voice mails, and emails will be monitored daily, but only EMERGENCY messages will be returned. All non-emergency messages will be returned on January 2 and 3, 2020, in order of priority. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as our staff enjoy the holidays.

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Please be reminded to call or email us with any address, telephone or email changes, and to notify us of divorces and deaths.

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ESTATE PLANNING & TAXES

The federal estate tax threshold will increase from $11.4m per person in 2019 to $11.58m per person in 2020. However, Massachusetts continues to carry a separate estate tax liability for estates in excess of $1m, so do not abandon your tax-minimizing strategies because the federal threshold is so high! In addition, the annual gift exclusion will remain $15,000/person/year (i.e., gifting without tax consequences), BUT there are consequences should you require long-term care in the future, so be sure to consult us prior to any such gifts.

Please be reminded to review your "Estate Plan Summary" (which was enclosed in your green folder when you signed documents with this office). Powers of Attorney shouldn't age more than 15 years, you need to have fully implemented all asset-related instructions we provided (funding trusts you have, changing beneficiaries, etc.), and if you have refinanced your home, confirm with us if a new Homestead is in order. Further, if your children are no longer minors, review your retirement benefits' beneficiaries, as it may be time to make the children the beneficiaries to those accounts instead of a trust.

ELDER LAW & VETERANS' BENEFITS

Things that should prompt you to inquire of our office on behalf of your elder loved one, as many people miss the benefits and pre-planning options associated with each:

--if the elder is (or deceased spouse was) a Veteran
--if you'd prefer home care to nursing home care
--if you have an irrevocable trust (even if it was prepared by our office) as MassHealth continues its harsh and negative stance against such trusts, so you need to be prepared for such a trust to be penetrated by the State

Finally, a couple of MAJOR MISCONCEPTIONS about which we are asked frequently and always bear repeating:
• Neither a revocable trust nor a Homestead offers long-term care protection. The former merely avoids probate and the latter protects from third-party creditors, not the government.
• You should maintain an accurate list of passwords for digital assets in a reasonable location, if any device or account will require access upon your death or incapacity.

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