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Massachusetts law about elders' issues

A compilation of laws, regulations, and web sources on the law surrounding issues of concern to the elderly.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

In general

MGL c.6A, § 18L Silver alert community response system

MGL c.19D Assisted living

MGL c.62, § 6(k)(1) Real estate tax credit for those 65 and older

MGL c.90, § 22I Permits health care providers and law enforcement officers to report "cognitive or functional impairment or incapability to operate motor vehicle safely" to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

MGL c.111, § 236  Designation of caregiver to receive patient health information and discharge plan. Note: The legislature inadvertently created 2 laws with the same citation. Scroll down past the organ donation information to see the correct section

MGL c.112 § 12G 1/2 Physician reporting of diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease to family member or legal personal representative of patient

MGL c.188, § 2 Homestead protection for elderly or disabled persons

Crimes against the elderly

MGL c.19A § 14 Elder abuse, definitions

MGL c.265 § 15A  Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, victim 60 or older

MGL c.265 § 15B Assault with a dangerous weapon, victim 60 or older

MGL c.265 § 18 Assault with intent to murder, victim 60 or older

MGL c.265 § 19 Robbery by unarmed person, victim 60 or older

Massachusetts regulations

105 CMR 309 Safe driving. "designate[s] for health care providers and the Registry of Motor Vehicles cognitive or functional impairments that are likely to affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle."

540 CMR 24 Medical qualifications for operators of motor vehicles. "provid[es] minimum physical and mental qualification standards determined to be necessary for the safe operation of a motor vehicle."

Selected case law

Guilfoil v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 486 Mass. 788 (2021) Provides a lengthy discussion of the use of nominee trusts in Medicaid planning, and the difference between nominee trusts and traditional trusts. 

Ryan v. Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Corp., 483 Mass. 612 (2019)
The landlord-tenant security deposit law does apply to assisted living, but those residences can also charge additional up-front fees for the unique services they provide.

Web sources

The Attorney General’s elder hotline, Mass. Attorney General.
“Senior volunteers with the Elder hotline can help you find answers to your questions, resolve disputes with businesses, and assist with other issues.”

Complete guide to managing your parents' finances when they cannot, Atlantic Publishing, 2010. Requires library card for access.

Divorce after 50: Your Guide to the Unique Legal and Financial Challenges, Nolo, 2019. Requires library card for access.

Elder law education guide, Mass. Bar Association, May 2021.
This nearly 100-page guide covers many important topics, including COVID-19 issues, estate planning, long-term care, veterans' benefits, Medicare, homestead and other real estate options, Social Security, and more.

End of life care, Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  
Includes links to brochures in many languages, regulations, forms and more, regarding Mass. requirement that health care providers "distribute to appropriate patients...culturally and linguistically suitable information regarding the availability of palliative care and end-of-life options."

The family caregiver handbook: finding elder care resources in Massachusetts, MIT Workplace Center
"The Family Caregiver Handbook is a "gateway" to key elder care organizations across the Commonwealth, providing telephone numbers, locations and website addresses so that caregivers can find the most appropriate resources closest to their own community." Topic areas include housing, health care, insurance, financial, transportation, recreation, and more.

Find an elder law attorney, NAELA, 2020
Use the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ database to find an attorney who specializes in elder law.

Get it together: organize your records so your family won't have to, Nolo, 2020
Includes information on health care directives, durable power of attorney, organ donation, insurance, bank accounts and more. Requires library card for access., Mass. 2-1-1 service.
"HelpSteps connects individuals to local health and human resources." Provides information about elder care, including help applying for Medicaid and Medicare, and transportation resources.

IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement plans: taking your money out, Nolo, 2021
Includes information on early distributions, periodic payments, types of retirement plans, and more. Requires free library card for access.

Long-term care: how to plan and pay for it, Nolo, 2020
Information on different long-term care option, asset protection, long-term care insurance and more. Requires library card for access.

MassOptions, Executive Office of Elder Affairs.  
Your connection to local aging and disability services. 

Nursing home consumer information page, Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality
Includes nursing home regulations, information on choosing a nursing home, and more

POMS Manual: SSA's Program Operations Manual System, Social Security Administration

Retire happy, Nolo, 2008
Steps to take to plan your retirement, both personal and financial. Requires library card for access.

Social Security, medicare and government pensions: get the most out of your retirement and medical benefits, Nolo, 2021
"This book is intended to help you get all the benefits to which you are entitled: Social Security (both retirement and disability based), Supplemental Security Income, veterans benefits, and civil service benefits." Requires free library card for access.

Print sources

Elder law (Mass. practice, v.56), West, annual, with supplements.

Elder law answer book, Wolters Kluwer, loose-leaf with supplements.

Elder law in a nutshell, by Lawrence A. Frolik, West Academic Publishing, 2019

Massachusetts elder law, LexisNexis, 2008 with supplements.

Massachusetts elder law sourcebook and citator, MCLE, 2018



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: August 30, 2021