It has been a while since the deposed Prince of East Overshoe contacted me to help him get $20,000,000 out of the country, with of course a large cut to me for my services. Not so long ago I received one of these “Dear Counselor” emails on a daily basis.
We’ve all been sent these scams, and while this one has run its course, plenty remain, and are not always as obvious. Many scams are disguised as official looking correspondence from the government. Please note: The IRS will NEVER send you an email and they will not call you. They only correspond by mail.
If you do go online for official government businesses, note that official government websites have .gov in the website address. For instance, the IRS website is www.IRS.gov. Massachusetts official government sites usually have mass.gov in the URL and official emails usually have state.ma.us in the address, e.g. the Mass State website is http://www.mass.gov/ and the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other scams exist in the world of nursing home planning. We’ve all heard the ads that promise that you one can keep control of your assets and immediately qualify for MassHealth. The old adage “if it sounds too good to be true….” is applicable here.
Mass Health long-term care coverage pays only if you have met the clinical and financial qualifications. There is a 5 year look back for the transfer of assets, so you cannot give away assets yet keep control. Also beware of non-attorneys who offer to prepare and file the applications. Remember, the nursing home will not tell you how to spend down to qualify for MassHealth. They want you to private pay for as long as possible.
Preplanning is obviously the best route, however there are things that can be done even if one has not planned, but there is no magic wand. Always seek the counsel of an experienced Elder Law attorney when dealing with the labyrinth of MassHealth’s ever changing rules and regulations.
Additional Resources for Seniors
Contact these national agencies if you feel you may be targeted by or the victim of fraud.
- National DO NOT CALL Registry
Register online at donotcall.gov or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222
- Federal Trade Commission – Identity Theft Division
To file complaints: ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338
- Federal Trade Commission – Phone Fraud
Resources at www.ftc.gov/phonefraud
image credit: Thinkstock.com
Karen A. McSherry, JD, LLM has over 25 years of experience providing clients estate planning guidance from simple wills to complex estate plans, guardianships, special needs planning and probate administration (settlement of estates). Her expertise extends to elder law and nursing home planning including MassHealth (Medicaid) applications. Clients appreciate her personal service and attention to detail as she helps them navigate the myriad of estate, probate and Medicaid rules. The Law office of Karen A. McSheery is located in South Easton, MA. Learn more at www.kmcsherrylaw.com or (508) 238-3333.