Partners' Letter
Dear Clients and Friends,
 
Happy fall from all of us at SSB! This is a perfect time, as family and friends gather over the upcoming holidays, to think about what matters most to you and yours. Our goal is to help you make smart decisions and to help you create an estate plan that best meets the needs of your family.

We've put together a lot for you in this issue, including: Your Home vs. the Nursing Home - 5 Things to Know; Taking the Mystery Out of Giving and the Tax Rules Around Gift-Giving; and An Important Guide to Understanding Medicare in Medicare 101.

In "Ask SSB" we discuss who you should name as your executor, now known as Personal Representative, and other fiduciaries, and whether it's best to choose a family member or someone from outside of your family.

SSB is very excited to announce a major milestone. We have welcomed our 10,000th client to the firm, Celeste Croxton-Tate! Celeste is a Boston police officer and also the owner of Lyndigo Spice , where she crafts and sells chutneys, relishes, fruit spreads and spice blends - read on to learn more about Celeste.

The most recent program in our Smart Counsel Series, "Long-Term Care Insurance: What is It, Do you Need It and Can you Afford It?," took place on Thursday, September 19th in our Dedham office. If you are interested in attending or next Smart Counsel program on November 21 on What You Should Know About Home and Auto Insurance: How to Protect Yourself, Your Kids, and Your Property please email Kenzie at kenzie@ssbllc.com Watch your inbox for information about future programs and catch one of our attorneys out speaking at events in the community.

We wish you a safe and happy fall as the holidays approach and as always, we encourage you to send us ideas for future articles. Please feel free to 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 

By Attorney Suzanne R. Sayward
 
One of the most frequent concerns I hear from clients in my estate planning and elder law practice is the fear of losing their home to the nursing home if they need long-term care. This is a valid concern when it comes to Medicaid and estate planning. Long-term care can cost upwards of $14,000 per month or more. If the long-term care recipient is not able to pay those costs, then Medicaid (sometimes called MassHealth in Massachusetts) will pay. However, there is a cost associated with having MassHealth pay long-term care costs. First, in order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits to pay for that care the applicant must meet the strict financial criteria imposed by the program. Second, to the extent a Medicaid recipient owns assets at his death, the state can seek reimbursement from those assets for the funds it expended on the Medicaid recipient. So, what happens to the home when the owner needs long-term care? Here are five things to know about Medicaid and the home.
Taking the Mystery Out of Gift Giving

By Attorney Maria C. Baler
 
We are often asked about the tax rules around gift-giving, especially as the end of the year approaches. These tax rules are governed by the federal gift and estate tax system, which is wholly separate from the income tax system. There is no Massachusetts gift tax.
An Important Guide to Understanding Medicare

By Steven Joshua Samuel, Samuel Financial LLC

As part of our work at Samuel Financial LLC, we connect our clients and their families with experts in many fields, such as Social Security, taxes, and real estate to name a few.  This quarter, we are giving our firm's financial column to Peter Stoner and Kathy Barniak, of Stoner & Company -- experts on all matters related to Medicare.  The annual enrollment period for people who are new to Medicare or who want to make changes to their existing plans is from mid-October to early December.  Peter Stoner and Kathy Barniak have been a great resource to our firm and our clients. 

Medicare 101

By Peter D. Stoner & Kathy Barniak
 
Medicare Open Enrollment (officially known as the Annual Election Period) begins October 15 and runs through December 7, for plan changes effective January 1. Most baby boomers remember December 7 as a date that will live in infamy, which makes it easy to recall. Medicare was introduced in the 1960's and was part of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society". Back then, people over 65 had half the income of younger people, but had three times the medical expenses, so something had to be done.
Ask Samuel, Sayward & Baler -  Who Should I Name as Executor ?

Q:         How do I choose who to name as my Executor, Power of Attorney, Health Care Agent and Trustee? I don't want to hurt any of my children's feelings.
What's New at Samuel, Sayward & Baler
 
Here's what's been happening at Samuel, Sayward & Baler!

Super Lawyers!
 
Congratulations to Attorney Sayward and Attorney Baler for being named Super Lawyers!
 
Price Increase Alert!
 
The Registry of Deeds will be raising their rates effective January 1, 2020. For those clients whose estate plans will require transfer of real estate to be recorded, please contact Jennifer to schedule an appointment to sign your documents so we can record them for you before the price increase.
 
Our 10,000th Client!
 
We are excited to share that we have welcomed new client #10,000 to our firm!!
 
Celeste Croxton-Tate is a Boston police officer and the owner of Lyndigo Spice , where she crafts and sells chutneys, relishes, fruit spreads and spice blends. Here's a little about Lyndigo Spice from Celeste: "All recipes are made locally in small batches at CommonWealth Kitchen in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Seasonal ingredients are sourced from local farms to give the products optimum flavor. I use all natural and organic spices sourced from a Fair Trade supplier. All products are low in sugar and sodium. My relishes, chutneys and fruit spreads are more than just condiments for cheese and crackers. They can be used in stir fried recipes, sandwiches, as a marinade, in stews or right out of the jar!". Celeste also has her own catering business, Lyndigo Spice Catering with a wide array of dishes which demonstrate the diversity of Lyndigo Spice products - check it out !
 
Our Attorneys Get Out and About
 
Attorney Baler spoke at the Westwood Senior Center on September 9 in conjunction with Honoring Choices, helping seniors to prepare health care proxies and discussing the importance of powers of attorney.
 
Attorney Baler and Attorney Timothy Borchers of   Borchers Trust Law Group, P.C. conducted a Coming of Age program at Medfield High School on September 26, as part of Medfield's back-to-school night, discussing the importance of having high school students who are over the age of 18 sign basic estate plan documents such as a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy
 
Attorney Sayward and Attorney Poole presented Planning Now for Long-term Care After Incapacity at the Dedham Council on Aging at Traditions on October 17.
 
Attorney Baler was a speaker at MCLE (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education) on October 22 as part of their Estate Planning: MCLE Basics Plus! Program, on the topics of Elder Law Issue Spotting and Medicaid Planning.
 
Attorneys Baler and Greenfield will be discussing Managing Incapacity: Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Guardianship & Conservatorship at the Westwood Senior Center on Monday, November 4th at 10:00 . Contact the Westwood Senior Center for more information.
 
Smart Counsel Series Presentations
 
Our last presentation on September 19th about Long-Term Care Insurance was a big hit. Thank you to all who attended and a big thank you to our guest speakers, Steven Joshua Samuel of Samuel Financial and Tobe Gerard from Tobe Gerard Insurance .
 
Our next presentation in our Smart Counsel Series is on Thursday, November 21, 2019, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at our office at 858 Washington Street, Dedham, Massachusetts. Our speakers will be insurance expert John Browne of the  Corcoran & Havlin Insurance Group , and Attorney Dina B. Browne, a partner in the law firm of Bletzer & Bletzer, P.C. , who will discuss What You Should Know About Home & Auto Insurance: How to Protect Yourself, Your Kids & Your Property. You can learn more about the program and register to attend on our website .
 
Other News
 
We are excited to welcome our latest team member, Legal Assistant Lynne Abe. Lynne assists with answering the phone and greeting clients, and serves as a backup to Ed and Jen when they are not available. She also assists paralegals Kenzie and Cait with correspondence, copying and filing. Lynne has lived in many different areas of the country, as well as Canada, and brings a wealth of administrative experience to our firm. Outside of work, Lynne enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and two dogs.  She also enjoys weekends spent in the kitchen, cooking and baking favorite seasonal recipes.
 
These articles are not intended to provide legal advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney
Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC, 858 Washington Street, Suite 202, Dedham, Massachusetts  
781-461-1020      www.ssbllc.com