Category Archives: Elder Law

Moving An Out of State Guardianship To Massachusetts

Here is a scenario that happens everyday: Sue Jones lives with her daughter Mary Jones in Georgia. Mary has intellectual disabilities and Sue was appointed as her guardian by a court in Virginia. Sue and Mary move to Massachusetts. Sue visits with an attorney to make sure everything is in order and asks “does my guardianship remain in effect in Massachusetts?”  And of course the lawyer answers “it depends.”

A guardianship gives the guardian the authority to make health care and living situation for the ward or “incapacitated person” as they are now called in Massachusetts.  This means that usually the people who will be asking about the guardianship and wanting to see the papers are hospitals, housing entities, doctor’s offices and the like. They will usually accept the guardianship and move on with things.

But sometimes a Massachusetts Court needs to get involved. This might happen because a guardian needs to be replaced, the authority of the guardian needs to be expanded or some medical provider has refused to honor the out of state guardianship.  If the Court does get involved, they will require that the guardian start from scratch and obtain a Massachusetts guardianship, complete with medical certificates, petitions, notice to interested parties and a short hearing to have the guardianship formalized. (Some courts will require that you get a new guardianship even if you just move from county to county in Massachusetts. This seems completely nonsensical to me and is thankfully not an issue that my clients have run into.)

Getting a guardianship in Massachusetts can take some time, so if you have recently moved here you may want to think about obtaining guardianship in Massachusetts before you run into an obstacle requiring you to do so.

Happy Health Care Decisions Day!

April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day.  While some of the seemingly fake holidays can make one roll their eyes, others, like Health Care Decisions Day (and Be Kind To Lawyers Day) are valuable reminders to pause and take care of important business. We are all in charge of our own health care decisionsContinue Reading

When Should I Write My Will? A Lesson from House, M.D.

I was watching a rerun of House, MD last night. One of the main character doctors became severely ill over the span of a couple of days. Finally, in severe pain, he was going to be put into a medically induced coma with the chance he might not survive. At this point he feebly tellsContinue Reading

Plymouth County Tracking For People With Alzheimer’s

There have been several local incidents over the past couple of months of people with Alzheimer’s who have wandered off. While most of them were found unharmed, in one of these cases, the man was found deceased a few days later. Even if the family has someone with the individual at all times, there isContinue Reading

Nursing Home? Rest Home? Assisted Living? Making Sense of Housing Options

There are several types of housing available to older and frail people in Massachusetts. Sometimes the different names can be confusing. I have outlined below three of the most common types. Nursing Home: A nursing home is licensed by the Department of Public Health. It provides 24 hour care for people – either those receivingContinue Reading

Avoiding Telephone Scams

It seems like every other week there are reports from the Hingham police or Massachusetts attorney general about telephone scams targeting seniors. While it is impossible to keep track of all of the variations, there are some themes that should make you suspicious.  These warning signs can also be applied to email scams. Beware ofContinue Reading

Gifts for Aging Parents (and other people who don’t need more stuff)

I remember when I was little trying to figure out a gift for my nana at Christmas. My mother used to to tell me that my grandmother didn’t want more stuff, but rather something from our heart.  A picture, a sleepover (where she let me cheat at go-fish and eat chocolate chips) or some helpContinue Reading

How To Talk About Your Wishes With Your Family

I encourage my clients to speak with their families about their estate plans and end of life wishes to make things easier on everyone during a crisis. I sometimes suggest that far flung families do this during get-togethers over the the holiday season. There are even services like Death Over Dinner that can help youContinue Reading

I’m Retired, Now What?

Clients often come to me when they are nearing retirement, or shortly after, to update their estate plans. They find themselves with enormous amounts of paperwork from their former job about their various retirement benefits, have started getting mail from organizations who want their money or time and may find themselves dealing with confusing insuranceContinue Reading

Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) v. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

Massachusetts has a few forms that people need to be aware of that affect their health care and the treatment that they want. When to use the forms can be confusing.  Below is a summary of each one and when you would want to consider filling it out. A health care proxy is a formContinue Reading