Office Hours – FAQ
Free Monthly Office Hours for Professionals Serving Our Clients
With Lucy J. Budman, Esq., CELA, LL.M. in Taxation
Who am I?
I am a Certified Elder Law Attorney and have a Masters of Law in Taxation. I focus my practice exclusively on Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection. More detail is available at my biography.
What are Office Hours?
You will have free access to speak to me about Elder Law questions that may impact your practice and your clients.
When are Office Hours available?
Free Office Hours take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.
Who can take advantage of Office Hours?
Office Hours are for professionals who work with families dealing with Estate Planning, Elder Law and Tax issues. We work with accountants, financial advisors, geriatric care managers and many others.
How do I schedule a call during Office Hours?
Please complete an Office Hours request form here. Please provide as much detail as possible about the topic or question you wish to discuss. One of our team members will then contact you to schedule your Office Hours call time slot.
Because of the demand for complimentary legal answers, calls are limited to 15 minutes on a first come, first served basis.
What questions can’t you answer at office hours?
Questions are limited to matters of Estate Planning, Elder Law, Tax Minimization and Asset Protection.
Due to our Ethical obligations as attorneys, Office Hours conversations may only relate to general thoughts and a basic understanding of the law, and will not result in an Attorney-Client relationship. Each legal situation is different and a quick question during Office Hours is not a replacement for an in-person consultation or a formal legal opinion for your and/or your clients. Depending upon the topic or question posed, we may advise that you and/or your client seek a formal legal opinion from a Qualified Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney.
Are Office Hours only for questions regarding Seniors?
No. Younger families may require careful planning for minor children, growing businesses and asset protection, or significant Estate Tax issues.
What kind of questions can I ask at Office Hours?
Past questions and summarized answers include the following:
- Estate Taxes are not an issue for most people with a $5 million federal exclusion, right? Wrong! Federal Estate Tax rates and exclusions are only set through 2013. Then our current law expires. Without action from congress, the federal exclusion could come back down to $1 million and a 55% tax rate. Even without Federal Taxes, the Massachusetts Estate Tax impacts families with a net worth over $1 million.
- Probate should always be avoided, right? Wrong! For married couples, a little-known planning technique can shield a decedent’s probate estate against MassHealth (and Nursing Home costs) for the sole benefit of the surviving spouse. Imagine the value you can offer your clients when you learn how we can help your clients shield assets for each other.
- My client is worried that their daughter-in-law will end up with their son’s future inheritance – any options here? Yes! Careful planning can shield the inheritance for the benefit of the son (and your client’s children) while still ensuring that the daughter-in-law can’t access it, even in a divorce!
- The IRS authorizes gifts of $13k per person per year – but does MassHealth agree? No! Put simply, such gifts in most instances will jeopardize a client’s eligibility for MassHealth benefits to pay for nursing home care. For this reason, any gifting must be done very cautiously and only with the guidance of attorneys like us who practice every day in the areas of MassHealth planning and applications.
- My client just entered a nursing rehab – is it too late for him and his wife to protect their assets? No! The reality is that there are lawful strategies to protect assets even for elders already in a Nursing Home. The key is timing – the sooner we are contacted, the more we can protect. Learn more about the planning options so that you will be able to add further value to your clients – even in a crisis.
- My client has a Trust already, are they all set? Maybe. The laws have changed tremendously over the last decade. An out of date Trust can have unintended consequences, from increasing Estate Taxes to creating unnecessary headaches during a disability. If it has been a few years or a family’s health or financial situation has changed, it could be time for a review.