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News

TRUST PLANNING

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Virtually no one wants to bequeath and devise assets to their children only to subsequently find out that those hard-earned assets are later to be lost in a divorce. One way to deal with this possibility is to leave these assets to your children via a trust.

A properly drafted trust is more about providing children flexibility and protection with the hope of not creating unmanageable limitations.

Most people look to set up a trust that ends at some particular point in time, typically when a parent feels the child will be mature enough to handle money. In many cases, one third of the trust estate is distributed at age 25, another third at age 30 and a final third at age 35. Others prefer one half at age 30 and the remaining trust assets at age 35.

Typically, upon the death of both parents, a child who is old enough and mature enough will be named a successor trustee to carry out the terms of the trust. If the child has not reached a certain age and a certain level of maturity, the parents will often appoint a third party trustee to administer the terms of the trust and to make distributions on behalf of the child such as for health expenses, educational expenses, housing expenses, etc.

Parents are often concerned that if assets are distributed directly to children upon death, any one of the children could subsequently get divorced only to see those inherited assets become part of a divorce proceeding. Leaving assets to children via a trust does have the benefit of “spendthrift” provisions designed to provide better protection to the children in the event of an ongoing divorce proceeding or prior to such a proceeding when things aren’t going so well in the marriage.

Consequently, depending on the particular family and all of its dynamics, a family trust could be drafted to last longer, long after a child reaches the age of say 35.

This is another reason why in some situations, naming a third party trustee might be better than naming a child as trustee. If the child has discretion to make distributions to himself or herself upon the death of both parents, then a probate judge in a divorce proceeding might order the child to make such a distribution representing that child’s share of the parent’s estate, thereby bringing those assets into the divorce proceeding.

Trusts can often be classified based upon their distribution provisions as being either support trusts or discretionary trusts. Each state varies in its interpretation of the trust terms. Discretionary trusts will tend to protect children in the event of a future divorce and the potential alimony and child support issues inherent in such a proceeding. A support trust may very well cause a problem for a child because the court may require the trustee to make a distribution from the trust in order to satisfy what the court believes to be a “support” obligation of the child, whether it be in the form of alimony or child support.

Consequently, a pure “discretionary” trust would seem to offer the most protection in these situations with a third party trustee serving as opposed to a child (particularly the child that would most likely be the one to be involved in such a proceeding based upon facts and circumstances known to the parents at the time of the trust creation). A traditional “support” trust might not always be the way to go, as including language in such a  trust that states that the child’s “standard of living” is to be maintained, might somehow lead a court to interpret that language as equating  to  an obligation on the part of a trustee to make a distribution to a child in order to satisfy an alimony or child support obligation. This is in contrast to simply providing income or principal to the child in order that the child have sufficient assets in order to be able to pay for his or her own  food, shelter, medical expenses, etc.

In our litigious society, we all have to be very concerned with lawsuits originating from any source and the more protection contained in a trust (some may argue) the better, even at the expense of limiting children’s access to the trust assets for which the parents funded into trust  for their benefit.

In any event, it is important to make informed decisions. What’s right for one family is not necessarily right for another family. Different circumstances, beliefs and ideologies will surely result in different choices for each family. And in the end there are never any guarantees.

By Joseph D. Cataldo

Joseph D. Cataldo is an estate planning/elder law attorney, Certified Public Accountant, registered investment advisor, AICPA Personal Financial Specialist and holds a masters degree in taxation.


 

A BC HERO

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It is not often that a Boston University Alumna speaks highly of a former Eagle, but Thomas “Red” Martin was too important for a Terrier to overlook. He was born in Somerville, and the family moved to Cambridge, where he was a stellar athlete at the Cambridge high school. Snooks Kelly was a teacher at Cambridge at the time, and he convinced Red that a Jesuit would be best for him, rather than going to Harvard, which also accepted him. Red was a senior captain who played 58 minutes of the Beanpot Championship game in 1961. He missed two minutes while in the penalty box for slashing. He was named the Beanpot MVP for his winning goal against the Crimson. He also won the Walter Brown Award as the outstanding college hockey player of Division 1 for New England.

Boston College retired his number 15 hockey jersey. He later served as a BC Assistant Coach for three seasons and was named to the U.S. 1962 National Hockey team and the 1962 and 1964 U.S. Olympic Team. He was a first baseman on the 1960 and 1961 BC baseball team and played in the College World Series in Omaha.

His father died when Red was only two years old, and when his mother remarried he took the last name of his stepfather. He grew up in church housing in Cambridge. From his time as a third grader until his senior year at BC, he sold newspapers outside St. Peter’s Church to help his family economically. He would play hockey on Saturday, pick up the newspapers at 5:30 Sunday morning and attend the 6:30 Mass.

Thomas was the founder and Chairman of the Cormer Productions marketing firm in Norwood. He served on the Boards of Aubuchon Hardware, Action for Boston Community Development, Xaverian Brothers High School, Caritas Christi Hospitals, Norwood Hospital, Massachusetts Hospital School, and Oblates of the Virgin Mary.

He was a New England Amateur Champion and served on the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund executive committee. He started a Martin Family Scholarship to benefit the fund.

He will be sorely missed in sports, church and philanthropic organizations. We of the Terriers are saddened by his passing as are his many friends and family.

   

Wake up to Breakfast

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We have all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and studies suggest there is truth to that claim. Making breakfast a priority every morning is well worth the effort. And it’s simpler than you think.

While we sleep the body uses its stored energy as it goes into a fasting state. Breakfast is our chance to replenish nutrients after a night’s sleep and kick start the metabolism (metabolism refers to all the chemical processes by which nutrients are used to support life). National Health And Nutrition Surveys have identified specific nutrients many of us do not get enough of: vitamin A, D, E and C, as well as folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium. A breakfast consisting of wholesome food can help us get more of these vital nutrients.

Breakfast does not need to be eaten immediately after arising. The ideal time to consume breakfast is up to two hours after waking. Take five to ten minutes in the morning and enjoy a healthy breakfast and be ready for the day ahead.  If time is tight, take breakfast on the road, or prepare it the night before. Pick up a healthy option low on fat, sugar and salt if eating outside the home. Choosing nutrient rich foods is key.

Tips for choosing healthy options: An adequate breakfast should be made from at least three food groups. Fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy all have their place at the breakfast table as long as they are from healthy food sources. Here are some examples.

- a bowl of low sugar cereal (not more that 6 g per serving) with milk    and sprinkled with dried fruits and nuts.

- English muffin with chunky peanut butter

- Two egg omelet with veggies, made the night before

- Overnight oatmeal – combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and plug in right before going to bed and wake up to hearty warm oatmeal

- Poached egg and English muffin sandwich with avocado, made the night before.

A nutrient rich breakfast gives your body and your day a healthy edge by supplying nutrients for staying healthy and energy to get the most from your day’s work.  Wake up to breakfast and energize your day.

Learn more about healthy eating. Bring Eating From Within to your workplace! Contact me to learn more about my corporate wellness programs.

Breakfast to start the day right

Poached egg on English muffin with avocado and hearty oatmeal with apples are just two ideas of breakfast meals that can be prepared ahead to give your day a nutritious edge.

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Anna Tourkakis is a nutritionist, author and founder of Eating From Within Nutrition. She provides nutrition advisory services and healthy eating programs to companies and individuals to help clients manage health conditions and maintain healthy eating lifestyles.
Anna can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
T. 781 334-8752; www.eatingfromwithin.com


   

Finding Help for Seniors Addicted to Opioids

Dear Savvy Senior,

I’m worried about my 72-year-old mother who has been taking the opioid medication Vicodin for her hip and back pain for more than a year. I fear she’s becoming addicted to the drug but I don’t know what to do.

Concerned Daughter

Dear Concerned,

The opioid epidemic is a national problem that is hitting people of all ages, including millions of older Americans. Here’s what you should know and do to help your mother.

The Cause

The main reason opioid addiction has become such a problem for people over age 50 is because over the past two decades, opioids have become a commonly prescribed (and often overprescribed) medication by doctors for all different types of pain like arthritis, cancer, neurological diseases and other illnesses that become more common in later life.

Nearly one-third of all Medicare patients – almost 12 million people – were prescribed opioid painkillers by their physicians in 2015. That same year, 2.7 million Americans over age 50 abused painkillers.

Taken as directed, opioids can manage pain effectively when used for a short amount of time. But with long-term use, people need to be screened and monitored because around 5 percent of those treated will develop an addiction disorder and abuse the drugs.

Signs of Addiction

Your mother may be addicted to opioids if she can’t stop herself from taking the drug, and her tolerance continues to go up. She may also be addicted if she keeps using opioids without her doctor’s consent, even if it’s causing her problems with her health, money, family or friends.

If you think your mom’s addicted, ask her to see a doctor for an evaluation. Go to the family or prescribing physician, or find a specialist through the American Society of Addiction Medicine (see ASAM.org) or the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP.org). It’s also important to be positive and encouraging. Addiction is a medical matter, not a character flaw. Repeated use of opioids actually changes the brain.

Treatments

Treatment for opioid addiction is different for each person, but the main goal is to help your mom stop using the drug and avoid using it again in the future.

To help her stop using the drug, her doctor can prescribe certain medicines to help relieve her withdrawal symptoms and control her cravings. These medicines include methadone (often used to treat heroin addiction), buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

After detox, behavioral treatments such as individual counseling, group or family counseling, and cognitive therapy can help her learn how to manage depression, avoid the drug, deal with cravings, and heal damaged relationships.

For assistance, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration confidential help line at 800-662-4357, or see SAMHSA.gov. They can connect you with treatment services in your state that can help your mom.

Also, if you find that your mom has a doctor who prescribes opioids in excess or without legitimate reason, you should report him or her to your state medical board, which licenses physicians. For contact information visit FSMB.org.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

by Jim Miller

 

   

“A lack of common sense”

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Rep. Vincent says bill to ban Native American mascots at Massachusetts schools – like the Saugus High School Sachem – is misguided

State Rep. RoseLee Vincent said she believes Saugus residents won’t have to worry about renaming their beloved Sachem sport teams. “I don’t believe the legislation has any legs,” Vincent, a Revere Democrat who represents part of Saugus (Precincts 3 and 10), said of proposed legislation that would prohibit Massachusetts schools from using Native American mascots.

“I would be opposed to that bill. I received quite a few emails from Saugus residents who aren’t happy about it,” she said.

“If it came to the House floor, I don’t believe it would pass. I knew that when I saw it. Common sense should prevail. Unfortunately, a lot of people have lost common sense,” she said.

One of Massachusetts’ most powerful politicians also stands in the way of the proposed statewide ban against Native American mascots. The legislation (S 291), which was the subject of a public hearing in Boston this week before the Legislature’s Education Committee, drew criticism from state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

“I think this is something the cities and towns should decide for themselves,” the Democrat told WGBH Radio this week.

“I don’t think the state needs to regulate it. We regulate enough things; it should be left up to the communities.”

 

Saugus should be exempt from proposal

In an interview with The Saugus Advocate yesterday, Vincent also considered the matter a home rule issue that didn’t need state government involved. And even under the unlikely circumstances that the legislation did become law, Vincent said Saugus should be exempt. “In Saugus’ case, I believe it’s paying tribute to the town’s rich Native American history … I never felt – during my years in representing Saugus – that it was anything but a tribute by a town that’s deep into its history,” she said.

“I don’t understand what the big deal is unless it’s an offensive term. And Saugus, certainly, is just the opposite – a matter of pride. I feel sometimes we try way too hard to be politically correct,” she said.

Wendy L. Reed, clerk of the Saugus Board of Selectmen, fiercely defends Saugus High and the town’s link to the Sachems as an important part of its heritage. “You have to know we respect our Sachem. He is not a cartoon character,” said Reed, who served a dozen a years on the Saugus School Committee (1997 to 2001 and 2005 to 2013).

“I had three boys go through the Saugus Schools, and they never had anything but respect for the Sachem. It was part of the curriculum they were exposed to at every grade level,” she said.

The town seal portrays the Sachem of Saugus – Sagamore James, also known as Montowampate, the chief or leader of his people in the Saugus area.

“Saugus has deep Native American roots and was ruled by a sachem, or Native American king. Saugus is the Native American name for ‘great’ or ‘extended,’” according to a recent brochure published by the Saugus Historical Commission on the Round Hill project.

The brochure continues, “First settled by English colonists in 1629, the area once included Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Reading, Swampscott, and Wakefield.

“A number of Native American sites are recorded in the area, dating from all known phases of human occupation over the past 13,000 years. Native Americans used stone from local sources, including the ledge of jasper at the foot of Round Hill, for tools which served them in their daily lives.”

“It’s our heritage”

The proposed ban, if applied to Saugus, would affect local government and community buildings in addition to the Sachem mascot.

“It’s our heritage,” said Reed. “He was raised here. He’s on our town seal and our street signs and all over documents. He helped the founders here develop Saugus.”

When Saugus residents talk about Sachem pride, it’s intended as a compliment – showing virtues of a leader or chief, according to Reed, who believes the legislation doesn’t apply to the town. “I believe what they’re targeting is disrespect to any culture, nationality or religion, she said, noting that it’s an issue that surfaces in the state Legislature about every seven years.

State Rep. Vincent said she’s also troubled by the statewide implications for Massachusetts, which uses Native Americans in the state symbol and on flags across the Commonwealth. “A lot of our Native American history – we have so many symbols. Would we have to remove the Native American symbol on our state seal?” Vincent said. “I would be opposed to that symbol being stripped of the Native American. Nor should we be removing a symbol in a community.”

State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) expressed his opposition to the legislation in a letter to the Education Committee and in discussions with several members of the panel after Tuesday’s hearings.

“We are honoring them,” Wong said in an interview yesterday. “We’re not taking them for granted and we are not using their name in vain … If you say ‘We don’t want the Sachem as the mascot,’ what would be the next thing? Would the next step be on the state level, which would be our state emblem? How far would this go?” Wong said.

“We’re using the Sachem to honor the tribe that lived in Saugus. It’s like anything else, we have named rotaries and bridges after veterans. So this shouldn’t be any different,” he said.

“You have casinos that name themselves Mohegan Sun. They’re not using it for pride. So why are they allowed to use it and we would not be?”

Saugus one of 40 “mascot” communities

Around 40 Massachusetts schools use Native American imagery and themes for their mascots and logos, according to a parent seeking to ban the practice.

Lisa Thomas, one of two Tewksbury residents who petitioned State Sen. Barbara L’Italien to file legislation that would impose the ban, told the Joint Committee on Education on Tuesday that she grew concerned the town’s Redmen mascot would teach her children that “stereotypes and caricatures were OK.”

Jason Packineau, an enrolled citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota and community coordinator at the Harvard University Native American Program, discussed what he described as the impact of such mascots on his own life. The Lincoln resident said people call him “chief” or “savage,” and strangers ask to touch his long hair, which he wore in braids Tuesday.

On Tuesday the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee decided to retire its Native American mascot and Indians name for its sporting teams. “Native people want to control their identity,” he said, asking the committee to remember that the mascots were not created by Native Americans.

While bill (S 291) supporters said the portrayal of Native Americans as mascots can be harmful and disrespectful to people they are intended to represent, opponents of the ban said the mascots honor historical relationships with Native American tribes and have become sources of town pride over the years.

“The town has an affinity and a great relationship with this name,” said Rep. Jim Miceli, who represents Tewksbury, citing a well-known statue in the town “of an Indian brave overlooking the community,” and the recent opening of a bowling alley and recreation complex named after the Wamesit village.

“I’ve lived in Billerica essentially all my life,” Rep. Marc Lombardo wrote. “Never in over three decades have I ever witnessed the name ‘Billerica Indians’ used and received by residents in anyway other than with pride and joy.”

A priority in Tewksbury

The Massachusetts Teachers Association supports the bill, and the union’s Shauna Manning said mascots do not represent the “rich and complex history” of Native American people and do not acknowledge a “long history of genocide from the United States toward Native Americans.” “We feel that Native American mascots are demeaning and perpetuate a myth that Native Americans are relics of the past who no longer exist,” she said.

Residents of Amesbury, Melrose and Winchester testified in support of the bill, saying they disagreed with their towns’ use of Native American mascots.

Miceli, a Wilmington Democrat, told the committee the issue is a priority in Tewksbury, where the School Committee in March 2016 voted 4-1 to keep its mascot after hearing support from residents. “I would love to see this bill killed, and I’m looking around and I think that’s a possibility,” Miceli said.

Billerica Republican Rep. Lombardo changed his Twitter profile picture on Tuesday to the Billerica Memorial High School Indians logo and described the bill in written testimony as “political correctness run amok.”

The State House News Service contributed to this report

   

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