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John L Roberts

John Roberts’s Answers

65 total

  • I have been receiving unemployment and just learned that I got disability. Do I need to refund unemployment? For how long?

    I just learned that I got approved for disability. The SSA found that i was disable for a while. I was receiving unemployment benefits on the date when SSA found me disabled. Do I need to return unemployment funds to Unemployment Office? If yes ...

    John’s Answer

    Social Security would review your past earnings and assets only if your case included payment of Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). SSI is a supplement for disabled workers whose Social Security Disability benefits are below the federal benefit rate.

    Information on SSI: http://disabilitydecision.com/html/benefits.html

    If you do not need the SSI supplement, you would not need to review your past earnings and assets with Social Security.

    But as Attorney Lutkenhaus pointed out, your state may have rules about unemployment.benefits . You can obtain advice and counsel from a disability attorney in your state. Get more information at: http://nosscr.org/referral.html

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  • How can i get a guardianship dropped

    my mother in law has guardianship how can i get it expadited so i can go back home to FL

    John’s Answer

    Your question does not clearly indicate the parties to the Guardianship proceedings that you are concerned about.

    For a discussion of Guardianship, links to the new Massachusetts Probate Code rules for Guardianship, and Probate Court guidance materials, go to:

    http://www.estateplansplus.com/html/probate_guardianship.html

    If you are questioning whether guardianship proceedings can be transferred to another state, the answer depends on the state of residence of the person who needs Guardianship.

    John L. Roberts - Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • Mom died with no Will.

    My mom died in MA 2 months ago with no Will. I live in OR and my sister lives in ME. My mother has no property, no assets, and personal property under $10,000 in value. How can I be appointed voluntary administrator, so I can establish a bank ...

    John’s Answer

    Following up on the first two answers, you can get information on the Probate procedures for small estates at:

    http://www.estateplansplus.com/html/probate_small_estates.html

    Massachusetts law also provides a way for bank accounts of the amount you mentioned, and small accounts in credit unions, to be distributed without any need for probate.

    Stocks valued under $750 that were owned by the decedent may also be distributed, without need for probate. Links to those laws are included with the discussion of small estates.

    But your question indicates that your mother left tangible personal property to you and your sister. Do you really need probate proceedings to handle distribution of these items? This is a question you may want to consider further.

    Attorney Golden's suggestion should also be explored. Directing donations in your mother’s memory to the college would save administrative costs, and maximize the scholarship amounts in memory of your mother.

    In my experience, colleges have been willing to establish scholarship funds in memory of alumni and friend, and they are grateful for your generosity.

    John L. Roberts - Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • If a life tenant in MA can no longer live in the property and is in nursing care, who is responsible for the upkeep of the house

    Life tenant is in nursing home Remainderman is deceased Beneficiary of the Remainderman are alive

    John’s Answer

    If the bottom line of your question is preservation and protection of the property for the remainder person, an elder law attorney could help you find some approaches to securing the property and protecting its value.

    Has the life tenant who resides in the nursing home designated a person to manage their assets? You need to find out who has legal authority to manage the nursing home resident’s financial affairs. A person with Power of Attorney or Conservatorship has the duty and authority to make decisions about how the property is managed.

    Next, has an estate been opened for the deceased remainder person?

    As a practical matter, management of residential property in urban areas can be challenging, time consuming, and risky. An elder law attorney can give you some perspective on the real estate, landlord – tenant, insurance, probate, property tax, and Medicaid issues likely to be involved in protecting your interests.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • Retained Life Estate

    What are the pros and cons of a Retained Life Estate?

    John’s Answer

    Transferring ownership of property can expose the property to the liens and creditors of all the Remainder Persons. Example: Mom and Dad decided to transfer ownership of their home to their daughter and son-in-law, while retaining a Life Estate for themselves. Unfortunately, Son-in-law had financial problems and he filed Bankruptcy. Mom & Dad's house became an asset in Son-in-Law's Bankruptcy case.

    Disadvantage of Life Estates #2: Transferring an ownership interest may disqualify you from part or all of the capital gains tax exclusion on the sale of a personal residence, and cause unnecessary income tax liability if the residence is sold during your lifetime.

    See: http://estateplansplus.com/html/avoiding_probate_cases.html

    On the positive side, a life estate - remainder arrangement can avoid probate. Also, under certain circumstances, a life estate transfer complete 5 years before a nursing home admission can avoid medicaid disqualification.

    http://masshealthhelp.com/html/medicaid.html

    Consult an elder law attorney for counseling on the circumstances that are relevant in your case.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • Are taxes paid on life insurance left to beneficiary's?

    If your parent's leave money to you as a beneficiary - do you pay any kind of taxes on it? Gift or income? What if some of the money then is distributed to other siblings?

    John’s Answer

    You posted your question in the Probate section. Are you and your family are involved with the distribution of proceeds of a life insurance policy that was owned by a deceased parent? If the deceased parent had a taxable estate, there would be estate tax issues to consider. You can find a chart listing the Massachusetts and Federal estate tax thresholds at:

    http://estateplansplus.com/html/tax_2010.html

    There is no income tax on life insurance proceeds, but if you decide to give away a substantial share of the life insurance proceeds, you would have to file a gift tax return.

    The threshold for gift tax reporting is $13,000.

    Consulting an estate planning and probate attorney would benefit you, and your family.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • How do I find out if there is/is not an executor of my father's estate?

    Father did not own any property and did not have a will. Was divorced before death from my mother. Never remarried. My mother believes I was named the executor during the divorce proceedings but I was never notified. My father got very sick soon a...

    John’s Answer

    Did your father have a will? That is the question that determines whether an executor can be appointed. If there was no will, your father's estate would be handled by an "administrator" who petitions the Probate Court for authority to manage assets.

    The Massachusetts Law that explains who can serve as administrator is at:

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/193-1.htm

    You can find links to the other estate settlement laws that are in effect until July, 2011 at:

    http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/wills.html

    If your father's assets are valued at less than $15,000 (not counting an automobile) you could us a streamlined form of probate called Voluntary Administration. A link to an article about that is included below. There are also links to more information about estates and the role of an executor are posted below. Consulting with an experience probate attorney will provide guidance that can save you and your family time and resources.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • If i sighn paperwork fro a healthcare facility as a guardian of n incapacitated relative,am i financially obligated?

    person is an adult but was hospitalized with a severe blow to the head causing memory loss and is unable to give consent for medical decisions. Patient is currently enrolled in Medicaid (or Medicare).

    John’s Answer

    A Guardian looks out for the best interests of the incapacitated person. The Probate Court has published a guide, which includes a discussion of limited Guardianship. A link to the Probate Court Guide is posted below. As Guardian, you would be responsible to prepare a plan for care of your relative and submit it to the Court for review.

    As Guardian, you are not responsible to pay the expenses of the person you are looking out for. Your contribution is your time and concern for your relative's best interests.

    Your question about financial matters leads me to mention Conservatorship. A Conservatorship manages the income and assets of a person in need of protection. The health care facility might not prompt you to petition to be a Conservator. But your relative might need that help, if they are in need of Guardianship to manage their health care and treatment planning. Get more information by talking to an elder law attorney, or attorney for the day at the Probate Court.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • Deceased Parents Property

    Our Parents have passed away. There are six Adult children. Who is allowed to enter our parents property and take an invent

    John’s Answer

    Did either of your parents have a Will? Did the second-to-die parent have a Will? Does the Will document name an executor? Was the property owned jointly? The answer to these and other questions will determine who is responsible to inventory the assets, and manage the estate.

    If there is no Will document (intestate), an Administrator would be appointed. The Massachusetts Law that explains who can serve as Administrator is at:

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/193-1.htm

    You can find links to the other estate settlement laws that are in effect until July, 2011 at:

    http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/wills.html

    Links to more information about estates and the role of an executor are posted below. Consulting with an experience probate attorney will provide guidance that can save you and your family time and resources.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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  • Re: Use of a trust to qualify for SSDI?

    I DO understand that there are specific income AND asset limitations for said qualification. Unfortunately I will soon qualify as meeting the former but not the latter with > $100K in IRA's & other ERISA accounts. I am < age 591/2 (now 57)& a tax ...

    John’s Answer

    As Attorney Golden explained, there is no asset or income test for SSDI. Like Social Security retirement benefits, SSDI is something you earned on your work record. Even millionaires qualify for the payments. You can read examples by clicking the first link below.

    There are some people who are eligible for concurrent benefits: both SSDI and SSI, because their primary insurance amount for SSDI is less than the monthly SSI benefit amount. These people could benefit from Supplemental Needs Trust Planning if they have countable assets over $2000.

    But your question indicates that you have substantial life savings in qualified retirement accounts. You do need to talk to an elder and disability law attorney to learn how to protect your savings. At Attorney Golden pointed out, Medicaid and health insurance is a big part of the equation.

    If you have qualified for SSDI, you are covered by Medicare 24 months after your benefits start. Protecting you life savings is well worth consulting an attorney who can explained these programs to you.

    John L. Roberts, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Disability Law
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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