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Massachusetts Association of Accountants

Estate Planning Essentials: Federal and MA Issues (706 and M-706)

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 has introduced a variety of new planning opportunities – it is all about the basis. While the Massachusetts exemption remains at $1,000,000, the SJC recently has raised some concern about how to handle a Massachusetts QTIP trust that had a New York QTIP election made, then the surviving spouse moved to Massachusetts and died here, and the SJC included the New York QTIP in the Massachusetts estate of the surviving spouse. This decision requires a deep dive into the Massachusetts QTIP rules and determination of what makes up the Massachusetts gross estate and you might be surprised what you find. In this program, we will guide you through the proper preparation of federal and state estate tax returns as well as any necessary gift tax returns including, a discussion of the pros and cons of the portability election and how it works, the QTIP election for the state which now requires a solid understanding of the rules as mentioned above, and even the potential benefits of a federal QTIP election. 

Using a hypothetical example we will guide you through schedule by schedule the preparation of a federal and Massachusetts estate tax return along with an explanation of the different estate planning techniques you may encounter when preparing these returns as well whether they are included in the estate or not, such as revocable trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, first and second to die variety, Medicaid income only trusts, limited liability companies, and much more with special attention paid to a joint trust and the application of § 1014(e) to the trust and the possible double step-up in basis. So, warm up your computers and come to this hypothetical-packed session ready to “do the math.”

Live Webcast

Date: TUESDAY, September 22, 2020

Time: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Location: Zoom Live Video Conference


Todd E. Lutsky, Esq., LL.M., Cushing & Dolan, P.C., Waltham


• Filing Release of Liens, General Information, and Elections

• Real Estate – Schedule A

• Stocks and Bonds – Schedule B

• Mortgages, Notes and Cash – Schedule C

• Life Insurance – Schedule D

• Joint Property – Schedule E

• Other Miscellaneous Property – Schedule F

• Lifetime Transfers – Schedule G

• Powers of Appointment – Schedule H

• Pensions and Annuities – Schedule I

• Deductions: Admin. Expenses, Debts and Losses – Schedules J, K, L

• Bequests to Surviving Spouse – Schedule M

• Charitable Deductions – Schedule O

• Generation Skipping Transfers – Schedule R

• Credits for Taxes on Prior Transfers, etc. – Schedule P and G

• Hypothetical Problem and Federal and State Computations in Detail

• Questions and Answers

CPE Credit Hours: 4

Boston Tax Institute

Current Estate Planning Techniques – How High Federal Exemptions Allows the Intersection of Estate Tax and Medicaid Planning to be Done at the Same Time

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The middle-class estate has since increased due to the higher exemptions making planning more challenging. Planners need to consider the use of revocable trusts for younger, wealthier clients vs. an irrevocable trust for older clients who want to protect assets and reduce state estate taxes. With the possibility of changing exemptions, the planner also has to consider if gifting is an option and how and what to gift. Understanding the client’s needs in this ever-changing world is more important than ever.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 increased the federal exemption to $11,580,000 while maintaining portability and the step-up in basis rules drastically changing the estate planning landscape. Instead of removing assets from the estate, the focus shifts to estate inclusion to obtain a step-up in basis, and with proper planning obtain a double step-up in basis as well as opening up generation skipping tax planning opportunities. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has greatly expanded the moderate estate world and made understanding how to use a general power of appointment and drafting the joint revocable trust more important than ever. However, in this volatile arena, exemptions may be falling sooner rather than later. Gifting might be an option, but what about the claw back problem? What assets make sense to gift? Finally, remember not all clients are worth $11,580,000 but are still concerned about reducing or eliminating Massachusetts estate tax while also protecting the assets from the nursing home. The trick has been proper drafting which has always been difficult until now. Come and learn about MassHealth Eligibility Operations Memo 20-04 which offers guidance on drafting these irrevocable trusts. We will also explore how to draft the trusts to preserve the all-important step-up in basis under Section 1014(a) and how to make the gifts incomplete for gift tax purposes; all while still preserving the QTIP marital deduction under 2056(b)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code for both federal and Massachusetts estate tax purposes. Finally, how does all this planning impact the Massachusetts estate tax whose exemption remains at $1,000,000? 

Live Webcast

Date: THURSDAY, September 24, 2020

Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Location: Zoom Live Video Conference


Todd E. Lutsky, Esq., LL.M., Cushing & Dolan, P.C., Waltham


• Thinking Beyond the Basic Estate Plan: Why the foundation is important and why you should not stop there.

• Estate planning strategies for young families and individuals with emerging wealth.

• Tax Minimization Techniques: Planning for the Massachusetts estate tax; fully understanding the portability rules; and utilizing the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption.

• Understanding the joint revocable trust, general powers of appointment, step-up in basis rules, and strategies to get a second step-up in basis.

• Retirement Assets: How to ensure tax efficiency and asset protection in the estate plan.

• Understanding the grantor trust rules of the irrevocable Medicaid trust.

• Recent updates in asset protection planning for Massachusetts, including the Eligibility Operations Memo 20-04 and the new drafting techniques for the irrevocable Medicaid trust.

• Understanding how the QTIP trust and by-pass trust of an irrevocable Medicaid trust can be designed to protect assets and reduce estate taxes while generating a step-up in basis.

• “Ask the Experts” Q&A Session.

CPE Credits: 4

Massachusetts Association of Accountants

Medicaid Planning Update – 2020

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The MassHealth agency has been busy issuing Eligibility Operation Memos offering both good and bad news but due to the pandemic have seemed to go unnoticed. 

First, the good news – The MassHealth agency’s increased attacks on the ever-popular Medicaid Irrevocable Income-Only Trusts have turned an increasing number of practitioners away from using them. The trick is to ensure they are properly drafted which was difficult to do until now. On February 18, 2020, MassHealth shocked the Elder bar by releasing Eligibility Operations Memo (EOM) 20-04 which offers guidance on the evaluation and countability of Medicaid Irrevocable Income-Only Trusts. It offers drafting language around the most litigated paragraphs of these trusts, including the limited power of appointment to both children and charities, along with the trustee’s powers to lend money and purchase financial products.

Now, the bad news – Eligibility Operations Memo 19-12 redefines how to calculate the value of a life estate and remainder interest in real estate when such property is sold, transferred to a trust, or gifted to a child. The IRS requires us to use one set of tables for these calculations and now MassHealth has required the use of SSA Life Estate and Remainder Interest Tables. What table is a practitioner to use and what are the income tax Medicaid eligibility ramifications association with using one set of tables over the other? Finally, when are the three times you should consider even using a life estate?

Turn on your computers, put on your thinking cap, and come learn how to finally draft these irrevocable trusts to withstand MassHealth’s scrutiny by applying their guidelines under the EOM 20-04, while at the same time maintain grantor trust status, make the transfers incomplete gifts for gift tax purposes, preserve the § 1014 step-up in basis, and reduce estate taxes. Finally, we will run through some of the arguments the state is using to challenge these trusts and recent fair hearing decisions.

While advanced planning is great, unfortunately very few people do it and find themselves faced with last minute planning. We will explore the caretaker child exception, the use of annuities, pooled trusts, and sole benefit trusts for disabled people. Once thought to be tried and true techniques, now these are even being challenged by MassHealth. For example, does the caretaker child have to be the only one who provided the care? Who gets paid on an annuity if the community spouse dies first? What beneficiary language should be used on annuities? What does a sole benefit trust really mean? These and many more questions on last minute techniques including a discussion of what assets are countable and which are not will be answered in this seminar.

Live Webcast

Date: WEDNESDAY, October 21, 2020

Time: 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Location: Zoom Live Video Conference


Todd E. Lutsky, Esq., LL.M., Cushing & Dolan, P.C., Waltham


In this program we will review the following planning opportunities in this arena:

  1. Drafting successful irrevocable income only trusts in connection with EOM 20-04.
  2. How to make these trusts grantor trusts and explore the grantor trust rules and related income tax benefits associated with them.
  3. Explore how to make the transfers to these trusts incomplete gifts.
  4. Learn how to keep the § 1014 step-up in basis and why it is so important today.
  5. Learn the income and gift tax ramifications and impact on Medicaid eligibility of life estates under the new tables of EOM 19-12 and how to create them and when best to use them.
  6. Explore the difference between the look back period and a penalty period.
  7. Review annuity rules, who should be beneficiary, correct language to use, and what happens if the community spouse dies first.
  8. Review recent cases and fair hearings on challenges to irrevocable trusts and nominee trusts.
  9. How to draft a personal care contract.
  10. A walk through of what assets are countable vs. non-countable and how they differ if married vs. single, such as the home, rental property, life insurance, bank and investment accounts, etc.
  11. Q&A Session.

CPE Credit Hours: 4

Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education

Drafting Successful Medicaid Trusts

Expert advice on withstanding MassHealth scrutiny

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Creating an effective Medicaid trust requires not only a deep understanding of trust law, but also of estate and tax planning. You must know how to draft trust terms that will get approved—not always easy when it seems unclear what the state will—and will not—allow. Using the right language and key terms is vital—and more challenging than ever.

This program provides a review and analysis of recent and current Medicaid trust cases both at the Fair Hearing stage and Superior Court stage. The analysis explores the current arguments the state is making, which includes attacks on the limited power of appointment to charities or children, the argument that nominee realty trusts are revocable, the power to loan money to the donor, the power to terminate the trust, and several others. Learn about the grantor powers that are the safest to use and which ones are being challenged by the state. Hear a discussion of the income tax benefits of making the trust a grantor trust and the importance of keeping the §121 capital gains exclusion. Learn when it might be okay to not make the trust a grantor trust in an effort to reduce the risk of the state challenging the trust, along with the pros and cons of such advice and the circumstances when such advice may be appropriate.

Finally, learn what paragraphs should be in these irrevocable trusts, and which ones to avoid. 

You also learn how to draft around current challenges and make arguments to distinguish your trust from the Cohen, Doherty, and most recent Braiterman cases that MassHealth uses to attack these Medicaid trusts. We also explore the step-up basis rules and the estate and gift tax rules as they relate to drafting these trusts. More specifically, learn how to draft a QTIP share and a remainder share into these trusts to obtain both estate tax reduction and nursing home protection at the same time.

Finally, we walk through when to use life estates, the two ways to create life estates, and the related income and gift tax issues associated with them. You come away with an in-depth understanding of how these trusts work, how best to draft them, and related estate, income, and gift tax implications associated with using them.


Lisa M. Neeley, Esq., Mirick O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP, Worcester, Chair

Karen B. Johnson, Esq., Madge & Johnson, P.C., Westford

Todd E. Lutsky, Esq., LLM, Cushing & Dolan, P.C., Waltham

Live Webcast

Date: TUESDAY, December 8, 2020

Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Recorded Webcast

Date: TUESDAY, December 22, 2020

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM


• How to Draft and Use Medicaid Income Only Trusts in Your Practice

• How to Make a Medicaid Trust into a Grantor Trust and the Related Income Tax Benefits

• When and Why it Could Make Sense to Not Make the Trust a Grantor Trust

• Life Estates and How to Use Them with Medicaid Trusts in Light of Daley

• Medicaid Trusts: Income, Estate, and Gift Tax Planning

• Drafting Bypass Trusts and Marital Shares in Medicaid Trusts to Accomplish Estate Tax Savings at the Same Time

• Current Fair Hearing Decisions and On-Going Superior Court Cases Dealing with These Trusts and Related Arguments Being Made

• “Ask the Experts” Q&A Session


The materials for this program are available online only and can be viewed or downloaded via the link emailed to you.

Also, there is no need to take extensive notes. Two weeks after the live seminar, all registrants will receive a link to a written verbatim transcript of this program.

Earn up to 3 CLE credits