In This Issue
Message from the Partners
Five Things You Should Know About Gifting
Long-Term Care Insurance Update
May is Elder Law Month!
Whats New?
Quick Links
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Samuel Sayward & Baler 
 858 Washington Street, Suite 202 
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone: (781) 461-1020 
Fax: (781) 461-0916
News from  
Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC

May 2015

Attorneys Suzanne Sayward, Maria Baler, and Steven Joshua Samuel

Message from the Partners


Dear Clients and Friends,


We hope you are enjoying this long-awaited spring! We begin this issue by raising the awareness about some important estate-planning follow-up tasks. Many believe that once they sign their estate plan documents they don't have to think about it for a while. However, did you know there are important steps to take once the documents have been executed? In this article published in the Dedham Transcript earlier this year, Attorney Sayward provides crucial information on what to do following the signing of your estate plan documents.


We also want to help raise awareness of planning ahead when it comes to long-term care (LTC) insurance. This issue has been getting a fair amount of attention recently regarding companies honoring long-standing policies and offering new ones.  Attorney Samuel discusses the complex issue of what you can expect if you already have LTC insurance and what to consider if you don't. There are numerous variables regarding these policies, further complicated by state law.  With the right planning, however, families can begin to sort out the best available options.


Each year we help raise awareness about Elder Law Month, which is in May.  The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) established National Elder Law Month as a way to educate older Americans and their families about the many important issues that affect seniors.  As part of our ongoing community outreach initiatives, Attorney Sayward spoke at the Norfolk Senior Center on May 20th.  Attorney Baler writes about Elder Law Month and provides important resources offered by the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA.


This has been an exciting time for the firm as we continue to expand our staff as well as our office! Learn more in our What's New section.


Thank you for reading another issue of News from SSB. We always welcome your feedback, ideas for articles, and new subscribers, so please feel free to send us email addresses or forward this newsletter to friends and family members.


Have a safe and enjoyable spring!


Steven Joshua Samuel

Suzanne R. Sayward

Maria C. Baler 



Five Actions to Take After Signing Your Estate Plan Documents  


By Attorney Suzanne R. Sayward


For many clients, signing their estate plan documents (Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney,

 etc.) brings a sense of relief and satisfaction in accomplishing an important life task.  However, signing the documents is often not the last task in the creation and

 implementation of an estate plan. Read on to learn about five steps that must be taken following the execution of the documents to ensure the success of your plan. 


1. Distribute copies of your health care documents.  Documents expressing wishes regarding end-of-life-care and instructions regarding medical treatment are a vital part of every estate plan.  In Massachusetts, these often consist of a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will.  A Health Care Proxy is the legal document used to appoint the people who will make health care decisions for you if you are not able to so.  The appointed individuals are called your Health Care Agents.  A Living Will is not a statutory document in Massachusetts but is often used as a way to express a person's wish that extraordinary medical measures not be used to prolong life in circumstances where death is imminent. Once signed, copies of these documents should be provided to your Health Care Agents and a copy of your Health Care Proxy should be given to your primary care physician's office as well as to any other doctors who regularly treat you. 


2. Update beneficiary designations.   While Wills and Trusts are the core of an estate plan, you will be remiss in your planning if you don't review the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, retirement accounts (IRAs, 401ks, 403bs, etc.), annuities and the like to ensure they are in accordance with the rest of your plan, and are updated when necessary.   Assets that have named beneficiaries do not pass in accordance with the terms of the owner's Will, but instead will be distributed by the life insurance company or financial institution to the people who are named as beneficiaries on the particular policy or account when the owner dies.  In my experience, it is not uncommon for clients to discover that the beneficiaries named on these assets include a former spouse or the client's parents or siblings, when the intent is that these assets pass to their current spouse, their children, or to their Trust.  Also, because there can be tax implications in connection with designating beneficiaries of qualified retirement accounts (IRAs, 401ks, etc.) and annuities, it is important to follow the recommendations of an experienced estate planning attorney when making these designations.


3. Fund your Trust!  If you take the time and trouble to create a Revocable Living Trust as part of your estate plan, then follow through and re-title your assets as directed by your estate planning attorney.  Two of the main reasons for creating Trusts include probate avoidance and estate tax savings.  However, your Trust will not achieve these goals if you do not change the ownership of your assets during your lifetime from your individual (or joint) names to the name of your Trust.  There is no question that this can be a time-consuming task since it may involve meeting with a customer service representative at the bank, calling financial institutions to determine the process for making the change, completing the paperwork, and then following up with the companies to confirm that the changes have been properly instituted.  However, these steps are essential to the success of your plan.  If you are not able to accomplish the trust funding tasks, contact your estate planning attorney to obtain assistance.  Many estate planning law firms offer trust funding services. 


4. Real Estate issues.  You may be familiar with the phrase, "all real estate is local" used by real estate brokers to remind folks that the market conditions in one town are not necessarily the same as those in the next town.  The same holds true from state to state with respect to the legal aspect of transferring real estate.  This is because local "quirks" such as deed preparation, how the transfer may impact the availability of property tax exemptions, homeowner's insurance coverage, or title insurance coverage must be considered whenever real estate is transferred.  As such, a lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state where your non-Massachusetts property is located should be engaged to prepare and record the deed and other documentation necessary for conveyance of that property into a Trust or otherwise as required by your plan.  This will sometimes cause clients to suggest that they will leave that property out of their Trust, especially if the property is not a high value asset, such as a timeshare interest or an unimproved lot of land.  This is absolutely the wrong approach.  Not only will that mean that the out-of-state property will need to be probated, it will need to be probated in the other state.  I have had situations where the cost of probating non-Massachusetts property exceeded the value of the property.  Re-titling out-of-state property into the name of the Trust will avoid the need for an out-of-state probate, and is worth the additional expense of hiring a local attorney to accomplish the conveyance.


5. Update your plan as needed.  Your estate plan is a work-in-progress because change is a fact of life.  Family members may marry, divorce, have children, become disabled, or die.  You may come into wealth, or suffer a reversal of fortune.  The tax laws will change, for better or for worse.   Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to represent your wishes for yourself and your family.


I want to give a shout-out to my Dedham pals Mike and Paula whose perseverance in overcoming the trust funding challenges they encountered inspired this article - great job guys! 

Long-Term Care Insurance Update


By Steven Joshua Samuel JD, MBA, AIF®


About 10 years ago, as many as 100 companies offered Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance, according to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance.  Many companies abandoned the business over the past decade because the premiums they set did not accurately estimate the extent to which Americans are living longer and increasingly making more costly claims. MetLife, Prudential, Allianz and many others no longer offer new policies and only a handful of companies remain in the business.


The companies that no longer offer new policies are required to honor the polices they sold, but they are permitted to request permission from state insurance departments to raise premiums. Barron's reported on April 11, 2015 that premium increases, which were approved in 2014, range from MetLife's 20.5 percent on some older polices in New Jersey, to Allianz's 75 percent on some older polices in Texas. Company requests for premium increases are not automatically granted by state insurance departments. Genworth's request to increase premiums for some older polices in Massachusetts has been denied.


 The specific polices and percentage increases requested have not been made public. The Massachusetts Insurance Department has historically sought to hold increases to 10 percent.  Genworth, in protest, announced it will not offer new policies in Massachusetts until it negotiates a compromise on the issue. John Hancock, Mutual of Omaha, MassMutual, Transamerica and Genworth continue to offer LTC insurance to residents in most states.


Many Families can still purchase affordable traditional LTC insurance by carefully designing policy benefits and getting quotes from more than one company.


People with low income and little or no savings are not likely to be able to afford LTC coverage. They can qualify for Medicaid, though in many states Medicaid pays for only nursing home costs and does not pay for care at home, which is what most people prefer. Being able to be cared for in your own home requires either paying with your own money or having a LTC insurance policy to pay for all or some of the care. Jeffrey Brown, professor of finance at the University of Illinois, supports the view of many financial professionals, saying in Barron's, "Long-term care is exactly the kind of low probability, high-cost risk that you want to insure against."  He points out that families having $500,000 or more in assets who pay for decades of care for an Alzheimer's patient would leave a healthy spouse in a catastrophic situation, unable to meet his or her basic needs after burning through all the family assets. Affordable coverage is available to supplement family assets to mitigate these types of losses.


Recently, insurance companies have begun to offer polices that address consumer concerns about affordability. Shared policies for couples are becoming popular. For example, these polices, at approximately a 15 percent more premium than single polices, allow spouses to share the benefit years, equally or unequally. Six years of total coverage could be used all at once for one spouse, equally, or four years for one and two for the other. Newer policies combine life insurance with long-term care benefits. For example, universal life insurance policies are available with riders that allow 2 percent of the death benefit to cover long-term care needs until the death benefit is exhausted, so that a $500,000 policy will pay $10,000 monthly for about four years. For families that can afford large single premium insurance policies of $100,00 or more, the policy provides long-term care benefits as a multiple of three or more times the death benefit, paid monthly if long-term care is needed.


Most families with someone in need of long-term care want to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible. Though LTC insurance is becoming more expensive and the policies more complex, insurance is the only source of paying the cost of care at home besides family assets, in most states. If you are interested in looking into LTC coverage, be sure to consult a trusted professional who has specific and extensive experience in this area.   


Samuel Financial LLC is located at 858 Washington Street, Dedham, MA 02026 and can be reached at 781.461.6886.  Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. Fixed Insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.

May is Elder Law Month!


By Attorney Maria C. Baler


The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) established May as National Elder Law Month as a way to educate older Americans and their families on issues that affect seniors. To support this initiative, each May and throughout the year, we help educate families by going out into the community to talk about important and timely issues. 


This year we are participating in the Massachusetts Bar Association's Elder Law Education Program, which matches local senior centers with elder law attorneys. On Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m., Attorney Sayward will speak at the Norfolk Senior Center (28 Medway Branch Road, Norfolk, Massachusetts). If you would like to attend this program, please call the Senior Center at 508-528-4430.


Also, as part of its Elder Law Education Program, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA also compiled an excellent publication: Taking Control of your Future: A Legal Checkup


This publication is organized by topic, with many sections in a Q & A format that is easy to navigate.  Topics include Commonly Asked Questions in Elder Law, Competency and Incapacity, Veterans' Benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, Long-Term Care Insurance, Long-Term Care Resident Rights, Protecting the Home, Reverse Mortgages, Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, and Social Security.  This publication, which is updated annually, is recommended for all seniors and their families. 


What's New?


Welcome Attorney Abigail Poole!





We are pleased to welcome Attorney Abigail V. Poole, who joined Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC as a junior associate last month. Prior to joining the firm, Attorney Poole practiced in Raynham, Massachusetts, at Oalican Law Group, LLC as a law clerk, and before that was a paralegal at Fraga Law Office.  She received her law degree from New England School of Law and her B.A. cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in psychology.  Attorney Poole focuses her practice in estate planning, probate administration and elder law.  See her full profile here!



Attorney Sayward Attends NAELA Summit


Attorney Sayward attended the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Summit earlier this year, which was held in Newport Beach, California. The event focused on seniors and people with disabilities, and provided sessions on:  

  • Working with Clients with Diminished Capacity - Dealing with the Roadblock of Denial
  • Navigating the Medicare Maze: Successfully Challenging Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and Home Care Denials;
  • Legislative Update and Outlook: Learn How to Use the ABLE ACT and the Disabled Military Child Protection Act and What Could Happen in the Next Congress That Would Affect Your Practice; and
  • Timing Social Security Applications: Maximizing Benefits for the Worker, Spouse, and Adult Dependent Children.

Attorney Sayward served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA for many years and as president of that organization in 2009.  Attorneys Baler and Greenfield are both currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter.


Members of NAELA are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. The mission of NAELA is to establish members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit


We Are Now Accepting Credit Cards


If you would like to pay your invoice by credit card, please call (781) 461-1020 or visit our office.


Office Expansion


The expansion to our office is almost complete! We have moved into our new space and our new entrance is just down the hall from our old office entrance. We invite you to stop in and see our newly renovated office!