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189 Wells Ave, Newton Centre, MA 02459 (617) 618-9160

Rubin Hay PC Law Blog

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018 U.S. Tax Reform is Here: What You Need to Know About Estate Planning Implications

In December 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that changes significantly tax planning for corporations, small businesses and individual creating unprecedented planning opportunities for both individual and business clients.

This memo focuses on some of the estate planning implications:

Gift Planning

The doubling of the estate, gift and generation-skipping tax (“GST”) exemptions means that, beginning in 2018, taxpayers can transfer up to $11.2 million of assets without transfer tax consequences. Between January 1, 2018 and the sunset of the increased exemptions on December 31, 2025, clients have the opportunity to remove assets from their estates and exempt future appreciation from taxation.

Whether a client should make taxable gifts depends on many factors, including the effect of state-level estate taxes and the tax basis of the property to be gifted. If the client is considering gifts for non-tax reasons (such as asset protection), the increased exemption amount may be enough to tip the scales in favor of a lifetime gift. This is especially true if the client has a gross estate significantly above the exemption amount.

Read more . . .


Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trusts

Dear Clients and Friends,

IRA’s, and in particular inherited IRA’s, represent one of the greatest sources of family wealth, yet many clients and estate planners are not aware of the significant benefits of utilizing Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trusts, sometimes referred to as Stand-Alone IRA Beneficiary Trusts.

Who should read this letter? Owners of substantial IRA’s or benefits under retirement plans that permit a stretch-out of benefits.

What is a Stand-Alone Retirement Plan Trust? A trust document established by an IRA owner or participant in a qualified retirement plan. It is separate from the IRA agreement and the beneficiary designation form. The trust is a revocable standby trust which is not funded during the IRA owner’s lifetime but becomes the beneficiary of the IRA or qualified plan benefits upon the death of the IRA or plan owner or the death of the owner’s spouse, whichever is later.

What’s at Stake?

  1. Protection of children and grandchildren from divorced spouses and creditors.
  2. Providing for maximum stretch-out of benefits for maximum income tax deferral and wealth accumulation.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Remember to Include Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

As you develop your estate plan, you must consider what will happen to your digital assets, such as your online accounts, websites, blogs, social media profiles and any other digital files. In most cases, you cannot include these items in a will, as you do not actually own them in a traditional sense. The law is developing in this field and legal access to these assets may be limited. Nevertheless, working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, you can provide instruction and authority to the personal representative of your estate, who will do what they legally can to carry out your directions.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The New Year is a Great Time to Review Your Estate Plan

The New Year serves as a time of change for many individuals. Some people commit themselves to New Year’s resolutions, while others simply look forward to a fresh start.

The New Year also happens to be a great time to revisit your estate plan with your estate planning attorney. By doing so, you can address any changes you need to make as a result of new circumstances in your life that occurred over the last year.

Read more . . .


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Uncertainties Arise in World of Estate Planning After Election

Throughout his presidential campaign, President-Elect Donald J. Trump pledged to repeal the federal estate and gift taxes or replace them with a capital gains tax at death.  After his victory, it is important that estate planning attorneys discuss with their clients the possible repeal of estate and gift taxes.

Under current law, any individual whose estate exceeds the estate and gift exemption of $5.45 million ($10.9 million for couples) is subject to taxation at a rate of 40 percent. For gift tax purposes, if gifts of more than $14,000 per person are made in a single year, there is a gift tax filing, however, there may be no gift tax owed.

Read more . . .



How to Use Estate Planning to Transfer a Business Interest

If you own a business, you can transfer your business as part of your estate plan — or the value of it — to your chosen beneficiaries. Through proper estate planning, you can leave behind gifts, avoid taxes and help ensure your company’s long-lasting continuity.

The strategies you implement depend mostly on whether you want to transfer control of your business interest before or after you die, and whether you are transferring a functional business or liquidating your interest. An estate planning lawyer will help you determine the best solutions for your situation and goals.

Read more . . .


Sunday, October 30, 2016

IRS Sets Federal Estate, Gift Tax Limits for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced its federal estate and gift tax limits for 2017. These limits will have a significant impact on many Americans’ estate planning strategies for the coming year.

The federal estate and gift tax exemption will increase to $5.49 million per individual in 2017, compared to $5.45 million in 2016. A married couple will be able to protect up to $10.98 million from federal estate and gift taxes.

Read more . . .


Sunday, October 30, 2016

3 Important Strategies to Reduce Your Estate Tax Obligation

If you are a top 1% earner in the U.S., it’s important to know that an individual’s estate is subject to estate taxes if it contains more than $5.45 million dollars in assets as of 2016.

These estate taxes, at a rate of 40 percent, can be costly — and so you should meet with an experienced estate tax planning lawyer to make sure you are truly protecting the best interests of you and your loved ones.

Read more . . .


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Report: High-Net-Worth Individuals Often Suffer from ‘Estate Planning Fatigue’

A recent survey from CNBC has found that nearly 40 percent of high-net-wealth individuals with assets exceeding $1 million have not engaged in any form of estate planning.

Many lawyers and financial experts believe one of the top reasons for these high numbers is what they call “estate planning fatigue.” With all of the changes to federal estate tax laws over the past decade, many wealthy people have simply grown tired of constantly updating their wills and other estate planning documents.

Read more . . .


Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 2016 Client Advisory: Potentially the Biggest Changes to Estate Tax Planning in 25 Years

Dear Clients and Friends:

You may have heard about IRS proposed changes that would substantially alter the way in which interests in family controlled businesses, real estate and investment holdings and other transfers are valued for gift and estate tax purposes.  These changes will make it far more difficult for Clients to minimize estate taxes.

Read more . . .


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan

What steps should I take to update my estate plan?

Creating an estate plan is only the first part of the estate planning process.  It clarifies your wishes and provides for those you love. However, because your life and the lives of those around you are constantly evolving, we recommend that you review your estate plan at least every five years. Circumstances that may require you to alter your original estate plan include: marriages, divorces, births, illnesses, deaths, and buying or selling of real estate or businesses. There may also be more subtle changes in relationship or status that influence your decisions about how you want to distribute your assets.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recent Death of Prince Shows the Need for Thoughtful Estate Planning

The death of the renowned musician Prince at age 57 shocked the world. It also brought into focus for many of us the need for us to be mindful about our own estate planning. Not only was Prince's death untimely and unexpected, it was the death of a celebrity with a substantial estate who died without a will.

Read more . . .

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Keeping Life Insurance Out of Your Taxable Estate

How can you use life insurance trusts to minimize estate taxes on the proceeds of life insurance policies?

Life insurance can be an effective way to leave a large sum of money to a loved one free of  income tax. But mistakes may prevent beneficiaries from reaping the full advantages as well as create adverse estate tax consequences.

Read more . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Why is estate planning for your business so important?

If you are a business owner, you are probably overwhelmed as it is. You might feel you are too busy to think about what will happen to your business when you die. So, you push these thoughts out of your mind and resolve to consider it when you have more time. However, putting off Read more . . .

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Boston-area Elder Services Director Indicted on Fraud, Theft

Our attorneys work with families to ensure the safety and security of the elderly population, as well as to address concerns regarding long-term care costs. Not only does this include protection from physical and/or emotional harm at the hands of wayward caretakers, but insulation from the devastating effects of elder financial abuse as well. According to statistics, elder abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States, often due to the diminished mental capacities of victims and/or victims’ unwillingness to come forward with allegations against family members or caregivers.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sometimes Seemingly Simple Estate Planning Ideas Add Complexity and Confusion

Why is giving title of your assets to your children not a good idea?

Contemplating one's own death is never easy, so we often look to simplify the estate administration process. Unfortunately, unless we do this with the assistance of a competent estate planning attorney, we are likely to create additional issues.

Adding your children to the title of your assets, so that they already have possession of your assets if you become incapacitated or die, may seem appealing. The idea here is that, once you put your child's name on your home, bank accounts, vehicles or any other titled assets, that property avoids probate when you die and passes directly to your child.  In addition, your child is able to manage these assets if you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so.

Read more . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How To Protect Your Assets From The Cost Of Long-Term Care!

By: Attorney Maana P. Hickson from Rubin, Hay & Gould, P.C.

Many elders fear that their savings will be depleted paying for the cost of their care. Skilled care at home or in a nursing home can cost upwards of $12,000 per month.  Health insurance and Medicare do not cover the cost of long-term care.

Please join Attorney Maana P. Hickson for a presentation on April 5, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the Callahan Center in Framingham to discuss long-term care/Medicaid planning and stay afterward for a question and answer session. Maana will discuss the Medicaid regulations and how careful advanced planning can protect your assets. We look forward to seeing you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What is Medicaid and am I eligible?

by Attorney Maana P. Hickson on March 8, 2016

Many clients come to us with questions concerning Medicaid. So what is Medicaid? Medicaid, or MassHealth in Massachusetts, is a state and federally funded program that provides health coverage for individuals with low income and assets. MassHealth also assists with the cost of long-term care in a nursing facility and will provide the following services at home:  personal care attendant, adult day care, home health services, etc.

MassHealth Eligibility Requirements (for applicants over age 65)

MassHealth has different qualifications for eligibility depending on whether the applicant is seeking benefits at home or in a long-term care facility.

To qualify for MassHealth coverage at home (community MassHealth), as a single applicant, there is an income threshold of $981 per month and an asset limit of $2,000. For a couple, where only one spouse requires MassHealth benefits, there is an income threshold of $1,328 per month, and an asset limit of $3,000. Additional income and assets may be retained if an applicant requires additional medical assistance.

To qualify for MassHealth coverage in a long-term care facility, as a single applicant, the asset limit is $2,000; however, for a couple where only one spouse requires MassHealth, the spouse in the community can keep assets totaling $119,220. There is no income limit. The applicant’s income is paid to the facility each month with a few allowable deductions.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Estate Planning For Your Golden Years

Please join elder law attorney, Maana P. Hickson, from Rubin, Hay & Gould, P.C. to discuss the essential estate planning documents for seniors. Attorney Hickson will discuss how best to plan to help ensure the right person is making medical and financial decisions for you, if you are unable to do so. She will also discuss planning for the easy administration of your estate, reducing estate taxes and providing for your heirs. We look forward to seeing you.

Click Here To View Full PDF

Topics Covered Will Be:

  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Wills
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxies, HIPAA Releases and Living Wills
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships
  • Probate
  • Estate Taxes

Wednesday, March, 23rd
5:30pm arrival
6-7pm presentation
The Residence at Valley Farm
369 Pond Street, Ashland, MA

Note to please park in Shaw’s Plaza lot if our lot is full, NOT the KinderCare lot.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CLIENT ADVISORY October, 2015 - Trust for Child included in Child’s Marital Estate in a Divorce

Dear Clients and Friends:

On August 27, 2015, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that a husband’s interest in a lifetime trust can be included in the marital estate and be subject to division in a divorce proceeding.  The case, Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, has significant ramifications for those clients seeking to protect their children’s inheritances from divorces.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Dear Clients and Friends:

We provide this advisory to inform you of three planning opportunities:


The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 unexpectedly sets the exemptions for estate, gift and generation-skipping tax at $5 million per person, indexes those exemptions for inflation, provides a fixed tax rate (40%) and allows portability of a deceased spouse’s exemption.

However, on April 10, the Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal and the companion Treasury Department Greenbook propose returning estate, gift and generation-skipping tax exemptions and rates to 2009 levels (45% tax rate, a $3.5 million estate and generation-skipping tax exemption and $1 million lifetime gift tax exemption, both indexed for inflation). Absent Democratic control of the House of Representatives after the 2014 elections, Congress will not likely adopt these proposals.  The White House proposal would grandfather transfers made prior to date of enactment.

Read more . . .

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205 Newbury Street, Framingham, MA 01701
| Phone: (508) 875-5222
189 Wells Ave, Newton Centre, MA 02459
| Phone: (617) 618-9160

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