The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski provides thoughtful and skilled legal services in the areas of:

The term Elder Law refers to the client to be served, rather than the area of practice.  The senior client has unique financial, physical and emotional concerns that demand the highest level of service and lasting solutions.  Elder law attorneys focus on the legal needs of seniors and work with a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the specific goals and objectives of the senior client.
The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski understands that seniors and their families have unique concerns that require personalized solutions.  We can help you and your family face a complex set of legal issues   and develop a comprehensive plan tailored to meet your needs and concerns in such areas as:

• General estate planning issues, including wills and trusts.
• Planning for disability or incapacity, including durable powers of attorney and health care proxies.
• Planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care and assisted living.
• Planning for a disabled  loved one, including special needs trusts.
• Protecting or preserving assets.
• Planning for Medicaid and Medicare, including divestment and spending down assets.
• Applying for Medicaid and other public benefit programs.
• Home care and nursing home issues.
• Guardianships and conservatorships.
• Minimizing inheritance taxes.
• Coordinating asset distribution.

For more information about Massachusetts elder law or to discuss your particular issue, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. GO TO TOP

Estate planning is one of the most important steps a person can take to make sure that their property and health care wishes are honored, and that their loved ones are provided for in their absence.   It involves both planning for management of your assets during your life and for passing your property on to your children or other heirs after your death, with as few taxes, costs and headaches as possible.
Though often overlooked or put off in favor or more immediate concerns, a comprehensive estate plan can resolve a number of legal questions that arise, help your family avoid potential probate court expenses, delays and the uncertainties of tough decisions when you have passed away or become incapacitated.

The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help you create a comprehensive legal estate plan designed to:

• Carry out your wishes about who will receive your property and assets and how they will receive them after your death.
• Ensure that your assets are transferred to those persons you want to have them.
• Avoid the time and cost of the probate process, when appropriate.
• Preserve and protect assets in the event a family member requires long term care or nursing home care in the future, is receiving or likely to receive public benefits, is a minor, has creditors, is facing a divorce, is a spendthrift, has a substance abuse problem, etc. 
• Minimize or, in some cases, eliminate a likely inheritance or estate tax upon death.
• Set forth the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.
• Set forth the kind of funeral arrangements you would like and how related expenses are to be paid.
• Provide a trusted guardian for minor children.
• Maintain financial health during incapacity.

Understanding the estate planning options that are right for you can be a complex undertaking.  The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help you identify your estate planning needs, recognize potential solutions and implement a comprehensive estate plan that best serves your interests.
It’s never too early or too late to develop a comprehensive estate plan.  Please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation to review your current documents or to put an estate plan to work for you. GO TO TOP

Asset protection covers a wide variety of issues from eliminating or minimizing estate taxes to protecting assets in the event of you or your spouse requires nursing home care, your spouse remarries, a beneficiary divorces, or a lawsuit is filed against one of your beneficiaries.
Asset protection has two goals:  to minimize risk of potential liability and to preserve your assets.   Asset protection involves a combination of legal structures that create barriers between your assets and any undesirable and avoidable diversion of funds or loss of assets – to the I.R.S, a divorcing spouse, a spendthrift child, the government, etc.
There are many reasons why you should consider an asset protection plan, including:

• Medical bills from an unforeseen accident
• To protect real estate and other assets from litigation or lawsuits
• To protect property and assets from the expenses of long-term care of a spouse
• To protect assets in the event you or your spouse require nursing home care or Medicaid assistance
• To protect assets for an adult disabled child
• To reduce inheritance or estate tax liability.

The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help you create a comprehensive asset protection strategy to help shield assets from liability, Medicaid and estate taxes and to ensure that you do not lose your hard-earned nest egg.
For additional information about the benefits of creating a comprehensive asset protection strategy, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. GO TO TOP

Personal care is expensive, whether at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home. In Massachusetts, nursing home costs can exceed $100,000 a year. Providing the same level of care at home or in assisted living can be even more expensive.
These costs, for the most part, are not covered by Medicare. Although such costs may be covered by long-term care insurance, few of today’s seniors have such insurance either because they lacked the foresight to purchase a policy, are uninsurable or cannot afford it.   That means that they must rely on their hard earned savings to cover the cost of care.
Few seniors can afford to pay the high costs of long-term care for very long. And doing so can leave a healthy spouse destitute and deplete the inheritance they have worked long and hard to leave to their family.
The Medicaid program pays for nursing home care for those who qualify.  In order to qualify, however, an applicant is required to exhaust his or her income and assets.  After that, Medicaid still doesn’t provide comprehensive coverage.   Medicaid planning is, first and foremost, the process of assuring that you or your loved one receives the best possible care should you or they require nursing home or long term care. Secondly, it is the process of positioning your income and assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid, while preserving as many resources as possible to supplement Medicaid, provide security for your healthy spouse, or preserve a legacy for your children.
Medicaid rules are complicated and ever-changing. The application process can also be daunting. The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help guide you through this process, help protect your hard-earned savings from long-term care costs, help you receive the benefits and care to which you are entitled and help protect your spouse and your family’s financial stability. We help clients in good health or those who have just been diagnosed with an illness plan in advance as well as families of seniors who are unexpectedly hospitalized or in a nursing home.  We stay up-to-date with the evolving Medicaid rules and laws to provide you with accurate advice and service you can rely on.
It is never too late to plan.  To discuss your Medicaid planning issues or for assistance fashioning a Medicaid plan to fit your circumstances and protect your family in the event you or your spouse requires expensive nursing home care, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.

Probate and Estate Administration

Probate is a judicial process whereby an individual’s assets are distributed according to the individual’s last will and testament, or, if there was no will, according to state law.  The probate process involves (1) collecting and identifying the deceased person’s property, (2) paying any debts and taxes, and (3) identifying the proper heirs and distributing the estate property to them. While the court oversees this process, in most cases the work is done by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate with the help of an attorney.
The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski has experience probating estates of all sizes.  We can help guide you through the administration process to assure that all legal requirements are met and the assets are properly distributed in accordance with your loved one’s wishes and the law.
For more information about probate or estate administration or to discuss your role as an executor or administrator of an estate, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. GO TO TOP

Disability and Special Needs Planning

Individuals with disabilities, their families as well as professionals who represent them, face a host of unique legal issues and other challenges unfamiliar to most of their peers. Disability can strike suddenly and unpredictably, such as a result of an automobile accident. Or it can occur slowly, as in dementia or various disabling diseases.  Unfortunately, when people do not plan for disability, court proceedings are often necessary to establish a guardianship or conservatorship.  These proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. To help avoid guardianships and conservatorships, all estate plans should include planning for disability. At a minimum this means preparing a health care proxy, living will and a durable power of attorney for finances. Disability and other special needs often limit a child’s capacity to become independent and financially secure as an adult.  Many children with special needs must be supported their entire lives, long after their parents have died.  Planning for who will step in for parents when they are no longer able to care for a special needs child can make all the difference in the life of a child with a disability.  This includes naming guardians, creation of special needs trusts and other management structures to assure that inheritances do not jeopardize government benefits the disabled child may be entitled to, choosing agents to assist with the disabled child’s care and finding suitable housing as necessary.
The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help you plan for the future and security of a special loved one with a disability to assure that your loved one will always have a friend, advocate and protector of their legal rights, insure that your loved one’s governmental benefit are never altered, diminished or destroyed and ensure that they will have a meaningful and dignified life after you are gone.
If you have a disability, the Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help you gain access to public services, avoid guardianship and provide for management of funds you may have, whether from your job, from inheritance or stemming from the settlement of a personal injury case.
For more information on disability and special needs planning or to discuss your particular situation, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. GO TO TOP

Guardianship and Conservatorship

Guardianship is the court appointment of a person to make health care decisions for another person.  It takes away the legal rights of the person for whom a guardian has been appointed. A conservator is the court appointment of a person to make decisions over another person’s financial assets.  While one person may serve as both guardian and conservator, the roles can be served by different people as well.
Guardianships can be created for anyone who is incapable of caring for himself or herself or making proper decisions about health by reason of minority, mental illness, mental retardation or physical incapacity.   Conservatorships can be created for anyone who is incapable of making proper decisions about finances by reason of minority, mental illness, mental retardation or physical incapacity.  The person appointed to make those decisions is a guardian or conservator and the person for whom the decisions are being made is a protected person.
Guardians or Conservators may need to be appointed to consent to the administration of anti-psychotic medications, to facilitate a move to a safe environment, to gain access to financial assets, or to protect a senior or younger family member with special needs from dangerous situations.
Guardianship/Conservatorship should be a last resort, if possible.  They are often time-consuming, expensive, and adversarial.  They are also public and any competent person may serve as guardian or conservator.  The person appointed as guardian or conservator to handle your financial and health care needs may not be the person you would have chosen had you been capable of making that decision.

Through proper planning, including durable powers of attorney and health care proxies, many clients are able to avoid guardianship or conservatorship.  However, there are times, even with proper planning, when guardianship or conservatorship is unavoidable.  In those instances, the Law Office of Stephanie Konarski can help assist you in getting appointed through the probate court, advising you with respect to your powers and responsibilities and helping you prepare the proper court documents.
If you need assistance petitioning for guardianship or conservatorship over a loved one who can no longer manage their personal or financial affairs or if you wish to establish a durable power of attorney and health care proxy so that you and your family can avoid such proceedings, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. GO TO TOP

Residential Real Estate

Buying or selling a home is one of the greatest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.   When making such a decision, you need the expertise and guidance of an experienced real estate attorney early in the negotiations and closing process to make sure your investment is properly protected.
The Law Office of Stephanie Konarski is experienced in managing residential real estate transactions. We represent buyers and sellers in the purchase of sale of a home.  We can advise you through every step of the process from making or accepting an initial offer, to executing the purchase and sale agreement, to attending the closing.
If you need assistance with a residential real estate matter, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.GO TO TOP