Partners' Letter
Dear Clients and Friends,
It's spring -- that time of year when many of us are busy with numerous do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around the house. While building a rock garden, paving the driveway, or replacing a screen door can be cost-cutting and rewarding, DIY estate planning can have serious  consequences.  We begin this issue with a column by Attorney Sayward that lists five of the top reasons you should leave estate planning to a qualified estate planning attorney.  The column, published in the Dedham Transcript earlier this year, gives five real-life examples of DIY estate planning gone bad.
In Attorney Samuel's financial article, he discusses strategies for estimating and planning for health care expenses during retirement. With health care expenses among the most difficult costs to estimate and control, he points specifically to which expenses many of us think will be fully covered -- but are not. A new hard look at what Medicare and Social Security will and will not provide may be a much-needed reality check for many to begin making adjustments to the family budget now.  He provides some strategies and resources to consider in planning for health care during retirement.  
Attorney Baler has good news to share about the status of Governor Baker's proposed legislation to expand estate recovery to allow Medicaid claims to be made against any asset in which the deceased owned an interest at the time of death.  This would include jointly held bank accounts, real estate owned jointly by the deceased and the surviving spouse, and real estate in which the deceased owned a life estate interest or which was held in an irrevocable trust.  Thanks to  our clients, friends, and many people around the state voicing their concerns and opposition over this proposal, it was not included in the FY 2017 budget.  We will continue to keep you updated on this and other important issues.
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 Examples of DIY Estate Planning Gone Bad

By Attorney Suzanne Sayward
Self-sufficiency and resourcefulness are admirable traits - knowing how to change a tire, wallpaper a bathroom, or use duct tape to fix any number of problems can save both time and money.  However, not all tasks should be tackled at home - dental work, anything to do with electricity, and getting bats out of the attic are examples of tasks for which most people should hire a professional.  With the proliferation of DIY (do-it-yourself) kits and forms available online these days, estate planning may seem like one of those items that could be handled at home and save a lot of money.  Beware - the consequences of not getting it right can be worse than a do-it-yourself root canal!  Here are five real examples of DIY estate planning gone bad.
Estimating and Planning for Health Care Expenses During Retirement
By Steven Joshua Samuel JD, MBA, AIF®
Health care expenses are among the largest and most difficult costs to estimate and control during retirement. Even those of us doing a good job saving, investing and estimating our retirement expenses may be underestimating the cost of our health care. In the years approaching retirement, it may seem that switching from a private health care plan to Medicare will result in big savings. However, HealthView Services' 2015 Retirement Healthcare Data Report, drawing data from 50 million households, provides eye-popping projections of health care costs for people approaching or in retirement. The full report is available at Here are some key findings.
Proposed Expansion of Medicaid Estate Recovery

By Attorney Maria C. Baler
Have you ever wondered how you would pay for long-term nursing home care (at a cost of $350 to $500 a day or more)?  Medicaid, also known as MassHealth in Massachusetts, pays for nursing home care for those who do not have assets to pay for their care.  An individual applicant can have no more than $2,000 of countable assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits.  A married individual's spouse who lives in the community may own up to approximately $120,000 of countable assets.  The home of a Medicaid applicant is considered a non-countable asset, and may be owned by an individual, or a married couple, without impacting eligibility.

What's New at Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC

Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC Attorneys Attend Elder Law Institute

Attorneys Sayward, Baler, Greenfield and Poole attended the 22nd Annual Elder Law Institute sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) in Boston on April 1, 2016.  The focus of this year's Institute was Special Needs Planning including third party and first party Special Needs Trusts (sometimes called Supplemental Needs Trusts) and other options for preserving assets for the benefit of a person with disabilities such as the new ABLE accounts which will soon be available in Massachusetts.  If you have a family member with disabilities and you are not sure if your estate plan properly provides for that person, please contact Jennifer Poles at 781/461-1020 x 212 or to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.
Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC has some Fun!

We are a hard working bunch here at Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC, but every once in a while we take some time off to relax.  On April 6, Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC and our colleagues at Samuel Financial, LLC visited Trillium Brewing Company in Canton to sample some of their delicious and unique beer followed by a great dinner at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. Check out our Facebook page for a photo of our good time!
Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC, 858 Washington Street, Suite 202, Dedham, Massachusetts