Dear Clients and Friends,
This fall starts the end of the close of a year that we will not soon forget. Change has been the one constant in 2020, and in the fall we feel it in the air as the days get shorter and the temperature drops. The only thing certain about the future is that there will be change. That’s why we plan for a better tomorrow and for any uncertainties that are waiting just around the corner.
Now more than ever we want you to take comfort in your estate planning and know that we are here to help you if you have questions, concerns or planning needs. Our goal as always is to help you in creating the right estate plan for your family.
We have a lot for you in this issue, including:
● An update of What’s New at the Firm including a farewell to Jennifer Poles who we will sorely miss.
You can jump right to any of our articles by clicking on the title above, or continue below for a brief summary of each piece.
Do you have questions about Estate Taxes and Inheritance Taxes? In her article Five Taxes your Heirs May Pay (or not) After your Death, Attorney Maria Baler explains taxes that may be payable by your heirs after your death and potential strategies for planning to minimize these taxes. This includes Federal Estate Tax, State Estate Tax, Personal Income Tax, Fiduciary Income Tax and finally Income Tax on Retirement Accounts.
We also pause to remember the passing in September of two champions of equality and justice. In his role as the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Ralph Gants not only presided over the highest appellate court in the state which decides criminal and civil matters appealed from other state courts, but was also the chief administrative justice of the Massachusetts court system. It was in that latter role that he touched every attorney in Massachusetts, inspiring us to do good work, while truly caring about the well-being of all Massachusetts attorneys who labor in a profession with increasingly high levels of stress and related challenges.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs no introduction and has been a prominent figure in our national legal landscape for decades. Her personal struggles against discrimination as a woman and a mother are well-known, and although those experiences happened only decades ago, are gratefully hard to imagine today. That being said, the legal profession and many others are by no means completely free of the discrimination and inequality that Justice Ginsburg faced. It was her work to ensure that future generations did not have to face the obstacles she did to which we here at Samuel, Sayward & Baler, a firm of mostly women attorneys and many mothers, owe our careers, and we are eternally grateful.
As the year draws to a close, Steven Joshua Samuel takes a look at some things you can do to stay on track when it comes to financial planning with his Year-End Financial Planning Checklist. Even though 2020 has been a year of unexpected changes, one routine has remained consistent: the fourth quarter means it’s time to begin organizing your finances for the new year. To help you get started, here’s a checklist of key financial topics to think about, including new tax and retirement considerations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes maxing out your retirement contributions, charitable giving, planning for withholding and required minimum distributions and more.
In Ask SSB, Attorney Suzanne R. Sayward, answers a question about preparing the MassHealth application for long-term care nursing home costs. Here’s our latest Ask SSB: I hear that elder law attorneys charge a lot to prepare a MassHealth application for long-term nursing home care costs. My friend said that when her cousin was in a nursing home there was a service that prepared the application for free. Why would anyone pay for something that they could have for free?
What’s new at Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC? Suzanne Sayward has once again been recognized in the 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for her high caliber of work in the area of Elder Law. She has received this recognition every year since 2013!! Congratulations Attorney Sayward.
We continue to meet with clients by phone or video conference for the time being. If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys by Zoom videoconference or telephone, please call Lynne Abe or Ed Poles.
Attorneys Baler and Sayward have been busy presenting at Webinars including our own Smart Counsel Series recently held on Thursday, September 24, 2020, on What You Should Know About Medicare. This webinar was well received. Find out below how to watch if you missed it.
And finally, our long-time Client Services Coordinator, Jennifer Poles, has decided to make a career change (after obtaining her Masters in accounting) and leave SSB to take an accounting position with another company. Jennifer has worked with us here at SSB for 12 years, starting as our receptionist. She will sincerely miss seeing and talking to all of our clients and her coworkers. She will be greatly missed by everyone at Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC. We wish her the best of luck in her new career.
We feel lucky that we have such great clients and team members and that we are able to continue to do our estate planning, estate settlement and elder law work for you. We could not do what we do without all of you. THANK YOU!
And please feel free to reach out to us with any questions and please send us email addresses for new subscribers or forward this newsletter to friends and family members.
Steven Joshua Samuel
Suzanne R. Sayward
Maria C. Baler