Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC
October 2021 Newsletter

Partners' Letter

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
- L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Dear Clients and Friends:
Autumn has arrived in all her glory. The trees are afire with gold, orange and red, the days are warn, the nights are cool and scents of apples, pumpkins and the smell of smoking chimneys fill the air. There's nothing quite like October baseball, and our beloved Boston Red Sox gave it the ol' college try but came up short. Better luck next year boys!

What a beautiful season fall is; as we watch from frosty windows as the leaves gently float through the air on a chilly breeze... and we find our thoughts turning to family gatherings and Thanksgiving and the December holidays. For many of us, it will be the first time in two years that we are able to safely gather together with loved ones and friends to celebrate the holiday season. This is also the perfect time to give thanks for our wonderful clients and valued colleagues, and send our Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving, a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
As 2021 comes to a close, think about wrapping up all of those outstanding projects, like putting the patio furniture and hose away, tuning up the snow blower and revisiting your estate plan documents to ensure that they are still in line with your goals and wishes. If you would like to schedule an appointment to review your estate plan with one of our attorneys, please contact Marcy Kadlec at our office or by email at
This quarter's Smart Counsel Series, "Probate: Haunting Your Family from Beyond the Grave," features SSB Attorneys Abigail Poole and Frank Mulé, discussing what Probate is, why it may be necessary, and the different types of Probate. So grab a spiced apple cranberry cider (see recipe below) or cold beverage, and join us tomorrow, Thursday, October 28th at 6:00 p.m. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please call or email Victoria Ung ( to register.

If you would like more information on Probate, please visit our new Probate page on our website.

In this issue:
  • 5 Types of Trusts and How to Know Which One is Right For You
  • October is Special Needs Law Month - Planning for the future for your loved one with special needs.
  • Ask SSB: What is Probate, and Why Does Everyone Want to Avoid It?
  • What's New at Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC
  • Delicious fall/winter recipes
  • Employee Profile - Meet Marcy Kadlec

As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, or ideas for future newsletter articles, or topics for our Smart Counsel Series. If you know someone who would like to receive this quarterly newsletter, please have them send us their email address, and don’t forget to forward this to your family and friends.

Happy Holidays,

Suzanne R. Sayward
Maria C. Baler

By Attorney Suzanne R. Sayward
Revocable? Irrevocable? Income only? OH MY! With so many options for protecting your assests and your loved ones, how are you to know which is the right Trust for you? There are far more than 5 types of trusts, and each type of trust is intended to accomplish different goals. Here is a quick overview of the more common types of Trusts.

1. Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is one of the most common estate planning tools. Reasons for using a Revocable Living Trust include probate avoidance and providing management of assets for beneficiaries (such as young children) who are not yet mature enough to manage assets for themselves or for whom an inheritance should be protected from ‘creditors or predators.’ The basic “players” in any trust are the Grantor (sometimes called the Settlor or Donor), the Trustee and the beneficiary. The Grantor is the person (or persons in the case of a married couple) who creates the Trust. The Trustee is the person (or persons) who is in charge of managing the trust assets, and the beneficiary is the person (or persons) who is entitled to receive distributions from the trust. In a Revocable Living Trust, these three roles are often the same person while the Grantor is alive. For example, if I create a Revocable Living Trust, I am the Grantor. I will name myself as the Trustee of the trust and I will also be entitled to receive distributions from the trust. After the Grantor’s death, a successor Trustee will take over management of the trust assets for the benefit of the successor beneficiaries named by the Grantor to benefit from the Trust assets after the Grantor’s death.
2. Testamentary Trust.  A Testamentary Trust is a trust created under a Will. A testamentary trust comes into existence only when the testator (person who created the Will), dies and the Will is probated. A Testamentary Trust cannot be used to avoid probate. In fact, a Testamentary Trust requires that any assets allocated to it to be subject to the ongoing jurisdiction of the Probate Court. The primary reason for incorporating a Testamentary Trust into a Will is for long-term care planning purposes. There is a federal regulation that provides that assets funded into a trust via a Will are not deemed to be countable assets in determining whether the surviving spouse of the testator is eligible for Medicaid (MassHealth) benefits to pay for long-term care. Testamentary trust planning is often used for married couples where one person is at heightened risk of needing long-term care.
3.  Supplemental Needs Trust.   A Supplemental Needs Trust is commonly used to preserve needs-based governmental benefits for a person with disabilities. Many benefit programs have an asset limit of $2,000 for eligibility. If someone who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), for example, were to receive an inheritance of more than $2,000, they would lose the SSI benefit until the amount in excess of $2,000 is spent down in an allowable manner. Giving the assets away is not an allowable spend down. Transferring excess assets to a first-party Supplemental Needs Trust is an allowable spend down. The downside to this type of Supplemental Needs Trust is that it must provide that Medicaid benefits received by the beneficiary during his lifetime be ‘paid back’ to the state at the beneficiary’s death. With respect to a future inheritance this problem is easily avoided by the creation of a third-party Supplemental Needs Trust. This is a trust created by someone other than the beneficiary. For example, parents of a child with disabilities, can create a third-party trust for the benefit of their child into which the child’s inheritance would be paid at the parents’ deaths.  A third-party Supplemental Needs Trust does not need to include a payback provision, and assets in the Trust will not cause the beneficiary to lose needs-based governmental benefits. Assets remaining in the trust at the death of the disabled beneficiary may be distributed to other family members.
4. Irrevocable Income Only Trust. An Irrevocable Income Only Trust is often used to preserve assets from having to be spent on future long-term care costs. Given the very high cost of long-term care, many people worry that if they have the misfortune to end up in a nursing home all of their assets will be spent on the cost of their care and they will not be able to preserve any assets for their children. The way this type of trust works is that the Grantor of the trust transfers assets (a house or an investment account, for example) to the trust. The terms of the trust permit only income to be distributed out of the trust to the Grantor during his or her lifetime. The trust must prohibit the distribution of any principal to the Grantor. That means, the grantor cannot receive the transferred assets back. There is a 5-year ineligibility period for long-term care Medicaid benefits following the transfer of assets to this type of trust.  After the 5-year period, the assets in the trust are not deemed to be ‘countable’ for purposes of determining the Grantor’s eligibility for Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing home care costs. Be aware that this is easier said than done, as MassHealth, the agency that administers the Medicaid program in Massachusetts, does not view such trusts favorably and looks hard to find ways to invalidate them.
5. Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. In addition to long term care planning, irrevocable trusts are created to reduce estate taxes. There are many types of irrevocable trusts used for estate tax planning: Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRTs), Gift Trusts, and Charitable Trusts, to name a few. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is used to remove life insurance from the insured’s taxable estate. Although life insurance is not income taxable, it is a taxable asset for estate tax purposes. While this is less of an issue than it used to be under our former federal estate tax laws (our current federal estate tax law means that only the very wealthiest estates are subject to federal estate tax), estate tax is still an issue for people who live in states like Massachusetts which has its own estate tax system. In Massachusetts, estates in excess of $1 million are subject to estate tax. If someone has assets such as a house, a 401K plan, bank accounts and investments totaling less than $1 million when they pass away, there will not be any Massachusetts estate tax. However, if that person also has a $1 million life insurance policy, then their taxable estate is $2 million and there will be estate tax due to the Commonwealth of $100,000.  If the life insurance policy was owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, then it would not be included in the taxable estate and the estate tax liability would be eliminated.
The best way to determine the Trust that is best for you and your situation, is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. If we can help you with that planning, please contact us.

October is National "Special Needs" Law Month!

October is Special Needs Law Month, the purpose of which is to to educate those with special needs, their families, and caregivers about ways to protect their rights and advocate for those with special needs. 

For estate planning attorneys, it is an opportunity for us to remind those who have a loved one with special needs, of the importance of planning for that individual's future. In particular, parents of special needs children should ensure that their estate plan will make appropriate provisions for the special needs child when they are no longer living, and for any assets that child will inherit, to ensure the inheritance does not adversely impact any benefits the child may be receiving.
The attorneys at Samuel, Sayward & Baler are active members in the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA). Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association whose mission is to be the premier provider of legal advocacy, guidance and services to attorneys to help them enhance the lives of individuals with special needs, and individuals as they age. MassNAELA’s mission is to be a leader in both elder law and special needs law in Massachusetts. In celebration of Special Needs Law Month, MassNAELA has created the Special Needs Advocacy Toolkit to help individuals and families promote the rights and well-beings of those with special needs.
At Samuel, Sayward & Baler, we assist clients who have family members with special needs, in designing an estate plan that will ensure their family member is provided for in ways that protect eligibility for public benefits, and address other important issues. We also work with disabled individuals to ensure they have appropriate planning documents in place to allow loved ones to assist them as needed, and to manage their own assets if appropriate.  Special needs trusts, powers of attorney, health care proxies and HIPAA authorizations, are all important documents that we discuss and implement for these clients. If you have questions about the legal documents that you or a family member with disabilities should have in place, please make an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys.


Q: What is probate and why does everyone want to avoid it?

A: Probate is the court process of changing the title on an asset when someone passes away. Real estate, bank accounts, and investment accounts owned in a person’s individual name at death which do not have a beneficiary designated are examples of assets that need to be probated. The term ‘probate’ is often used to describe the process of administering someone’s estate after death. This typically involves marshalling the probate assets, paying debts, taxes and expenses, and ultimately distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries entitled to receive them.

Delays, costs, aggravation, and loss of privacy are all good reasons to avoid probate. If an asset needs to be probated, that means no one will have access to that asset until the court has allowed the probate petition and a Personal Representative has been appointed. A delay in being able to access money to pay expenses such as funeral costs or to make mortgage payments creates a difficult and aggravating situation for surviving family members who are trying to manage matters after someone has passed away. In Massachusetts, the probate court system is currently in serious disarray and delays are significant. Probate can be costly, with attorney fees and court filing fees that must be paid. Finally, probate is a public proceeding meaning that anyone who wants to snoop into the business of a decedent’s probate estate has the opportunity to do so.

Avoiding probate is relatively easy. For example, if you own assets jointly with your spouse or child, the asset will pass automatically and entirely to the survivor when the first joint owner passes away; no probate would be needed. Assets that have a named beneficiary to receive them also avoid probate provided the named beneficiary survives the owner of the asset. IRAs and other retirement accounts, life insurance, and annuities typically fall into this category. Assets that are titled in the name of a Trust also avoid probate. While owning assets jointly with another person is a way to avoid the need to probate the assets there are some downsides to joint ownership that should considered before adding someone else as an owner on your account. 

Meet our "Rising Stars"
We are very excited and proud to announce that SSB Attorneys,
Abigail Poole and Frank Mulé, were selected to the 2021 "Rising Stars" list.

Rising Stars rates outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas with 10 years or less of practice, or who are 40 years old or younger and who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Attorney Poole focuses her practice in estate planning, probate administration, trust administration, prenuptial agreements, and elder law. She is committed to providing compassionate and individualized estate planning services to her clients ranging in age from 18 to 96.

Attorney Poole is the current Vice President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and a member of the Massachusetts Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys, Women’s Bar Association, Massachusetts Chapter, and the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Attorney Mulé concentrates his practice in estate planning, estate and trust administration, and elder law. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he is particularly sensitive to the needs and concerns of LGBTQ clients, as well as the special considerations involved in planning for non-traditional families.

Attorney Mulé is the current Chair-Elect of the Young Lawyers Division of the Massachusetts Bar Association and a member of the Probate Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association.
What's New at Samuel, Sayward & Baler
Welcome our new attorney Megan Bartholomew!
SS&B is pleased to announce that Megan Bartholomew has joined our firm.

Megan graduated from Brandeis University in 2018, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Health Science with a minor in Law. She went on to get her Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University, graduating in 2021. Megan took the Massachusetts Bar Exam this summer, and is currently awaiting her results. While attending school, Megan worked at Sweet Meadow Farm in Sherborn, MA, teaching children and teens about farms animals and their care, and how to care for and ride horses.

Megan is an avid soccer player, loves to ski and snowboard, and is often found curled up with her cat, Sansa, and a good book. And although she's a Yankee's fan, we are thrilled to have her on our team.

Lynne is back from Dallas... sort of.
Legal Assistant Lynne Abe will be working with us once again... remotely from Dallas. A silver lining of our pandemic experience was that we all learned how to work remotely – whether from our homes or across the country! We are so pleased that Lynne will continue to work with us from afar. Additionally, Lynne will be back in the office for a few days on a bi-monthly basis starting this week.


Baby Watch!
Long-time paralegal, Cait Fantegrossi, and the SSB team, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cait's second daughter. Baby Fantegrossi is due to make her appearance on December 17th and we are all excited to meet this beautiful little one. 

Boston Lights: A Night at Franklin Park Zoo

On October 7th, staff members and their families came together for a night of fun and beauty at the Boston Lights exhibition at the Franklin Park Zoo. The weather was perfect and the displays were amazing. The kids had a blast chasing smoke-filled bubbles, jumping on stars that lit up and changed color and walking through the body of a huge T-Rex.

SSBers on an outing
Frank & Nick, Sue, Megan and Rob, Cait, Emma and Derick, Kenzie and Tony, Chris, Maria, Abby and Debbie
Beautiful bird
Swans in love
Did you know they mate for life?
Gorgeous flowers
Under the Sea
Stunning Ram
Being eaten by a dinosaur isn't so bad
More love birds
A stroll through the Zodiac
See you next year!
Is there anything better than coming home to the smell of a delicious meal after a long day? Below, Firm Administrator, Deb Hayes, shares her favorite fall recipes:

Spiced Apple Cranberry Cider

6 cups apple cider 4 cups cranberry juice (not the cocktail)
4 cinnamon sticks 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2 apples sliced 1 orange
1 cup spiced rum – optional
Place apple cider, cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and the sliced apple in a stock (or crock pot). With a vegetable peeler, peel the orange rind into long strips if you can (it looks pretty) put them in the pot and then squeeze the juice of the orange into the pot as well.
Heat to high and once it's about to boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes while the cinnamon sticks work their magic. When you are getting ready to serve, add the rum, stir, and enjoy!

Variations: Swap orange for lemon. Add 1 teaspoon of whole cloves. Add ¼ cup of packed brown sugar for a sweeter cider.
Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins

Substitute lamb for beef, and add a dark beer instead of wine.

There are 2 important keys to a great beef/lamb stew. One is the quality of the meat. Chuck is better for stews because it becomes very tender as it cooks. Sirloin and other cuts becomes tough the longer they cook. Second, browning the meat is vital. It seals in the juices and create delicious bits on the bottom of the pot that add all kinds of flavor dimensions. Be sure to brown (sear) on all sides and scrape up all the left over bits in the pot before adding the other ingredients.

A few words about flouring meat before you brown it... don't do it. It is not necessary. The starch in the potatoes will make for a nice, velvety sauce.


1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. beef chuck stew meat, cubed into 1" pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 stalks celery, chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. tomato paste
6 c. low-sodium beef broth
1 c. red wine (a nice Cab or Merlo that you would drink)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried or fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 lb. baby potatoes, halved
1 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add beef and cook until seared on all sides, 10 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Transfer beef to a plate. Scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot before moving forward.
  2. In the same pot, cook onion, carrots, and celery until soft, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until garlic is fragrant and tomato paste has darkened, 2 minutes. 
  3. Add beef back to dutch oven then add broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves. 
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until beef is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. 
  6. Remove bay leaves. Stir in peas and cook until warmed through, 2 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper, then ladle into serving bowls and garish with parsley.