Holyoke Community College - Syllabus Fall 2019

Elder Law and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know
Instructor: Karen G. Jackson, Esq.
Mondays, 6–8 pm, 3 sessions: May 4, May 11, and May 18, 2020
HCC Cost: $99.00


While participants may attend only one session of their choosing, they must still pay the full course cost.


Course Description

This course will explain the basic “building blocks” of an estate plan. From that foundation, Attorney Jackson will address the various specialized trust documents and explain in which situations each trust document is needed. She will explain the guardianship and conservatorship process, court proceedings required when the proper documents were not prepared before the loss of mental capacity. Attorney Jackson will demystify the probate court process by explaining in simple terms what it really means to “probate a will.” The last class will address how to pay for home care, nursing home care, and other nursing home and MassHealth (Medicaid) issues.

Week One: Attorney Jackson will explain the importance of each document in the basic estate plan: the Will, Health Care Proxy, Advance Directive, Durable Power of Attorney, and Homestead.  As she goes through each document, she invites questions and gives examples of real situations of what went wrong when these documents were not in place or properly prepared. She will explain the guardianship and conservatorship process, court proceedings required when the proper documents are not prepared before the loss of mental capacity. Attorney Jackson will also provide numerous practical tips, such as when, and when not, to add children to bank accounts.

Week Two: Attorney Jackson will build upon the basic estate plan by explaining the different types of trusts and the reasons for creating each kind of trust—for example, the Revocable, So-Called Living Trust and the Supplemental Needs Trust. Attorney Jackson will explain the probate court process from start to finish. The topics include an explanation of how to determine which assets, if any, need to go through probate court, the role of the personal representative, managing the inventory, and bringing the probate estate to finality.

Week Three: The cost of nursing home care is approximately $390 per day. Attorney Jackson will discuss techniques to plan for the possibility that a family member may need to pay for home care and/or have to enter a skilled nursing home. She will explain the importance of long term care insurance, life estate deeds, supplemental needs trusts, income only irrevocable trusts, Medicaid planning, and MassHealth applications. She will also discuss current tips and traps in Medicare law.  

Learning Objectives:  By the end of each class, you will have an understanding of the fundamentals of the topics described.    

To Enroll: contact Holyoke Community College at: (413) 552-2500 or online at www.hcc.edu/bce