Massachusetts law about elders' issues

Laws, regulations, and web sources on the law surrounding issues of concern to the elderly.

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Table of Contents

Best bets

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." Call: (888) AG-ELDER at (888) 243-5337, Monday-Friday, 10AM-4PM., 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.

Legal help for elders, Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
"Volunteer Lawyers Project of Boston providing free legal information and referral services to Massachusetts residents who are 60 years old or older." Senior legal helpline: (800) 342-5297, Monday-Friday, 9AM -12PM.

Reporting elder abuse and neglect, Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Elder abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, caretaker neglect, financial exploitation, and self neglect. Elder Abuse reports can be filed 24 hours a day either online or by phone at (800) 922-2275.

Massachusetts laws

In general

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

MGL c. 19A, § 14 ''Elderly person" is defined as an individual who is sixty years of age or over

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, § 14-26 Elder abuse
Defines elder abuse as acts or omissions resulting in serious physical, sexual or emotional injury or financial loss to an adult age 60 or older.

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

MGL c. 273, § 20 Neglect or refusal to support parent
Requires any adult child, who has “sufficient means,” to provide support and maintenance for a parent, if the parent, “through misfortune and without fault of his own, is destitute,” is unable to support and maintain his or herself, and is living in the state of Massachusetts.

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."

651 CMR 5 Elder abuse reporting and protective services program

Selected cases

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

Benefits checkup, National Council on Aging.
BenefitsCheckUp® connects millions of older adults and people with disabilities with benefits programs that can help pay for health care, medicine, food, utilities, and more.

Elder law education guide, Mass. Bar Association, May 2023.
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: Know your choices, Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  
Includes links to brochures in many languages, regulations, 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."

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

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

Medical aid in dying
The state of Vermont has amended their patient choice at end-of-life laws by removing the residency requirement effective May 2nd, 2023.

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

Older drivers, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Includes information for older drivers, their families, and physicians on safe driving for the elderly and reporting concerns about health issues affecting driving ability. Massachusetts law requires drivers who are 75 years of age or older to renew drivers' licenses in person.

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

Resources for elders at the Attorney General’s Office
"The Attorney General’s Office can help with elder issues including financial exploitation, scam prevention, long-term care, housing, and more."

Print sources

The complete guide to managing your parents' finances when they cannot : a step-by-step plan to protect their assets, limit taxes, and ensure their wishes are fulfilled by Bill Swan, Atlantic Pub. Group, c2010.

Divorce after 50 : your guide to the unique legal & financial challenges of a gray divorce by Janice Green, Nolo, 2022. (eBook available here with library card).

Elder and disability law in Massachusetts, MCLE, 2023.

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

Elder law answer book, Wolters Kluwer, 2017, loose-leaf with supplements.

Elder law in a nutshell, by Lawrence A. Frolik, West Academic Publishing, 2023.

Get it together : organize your records so your family won't have to, by Melanie Cullen, Nolo, 2022. (eBook available at link with library card).

IRAs, 401(k)s & other retirement plans : strategies for taking your money out, by Twila Slesnick, Nolo, [2023]. (eBook available here with library card).

Long-term care : how to plan and pay for it, by Joseph L. Matthews, Nolo, 2023. (eBook available here with library card).

Massachusetts elder law, LexisNexis, 2008 with supplements.

Massachusetts elder law sourcebook and citator, MCLE, 2018.

Retire happy : what you can do now to guarantee a great retirement by Ralph Warner, Nolo, 2008.

Social Security, Medicare & government pensions : get the most out of your retirement & medical benefits by Joseph L. Matthews, Nolo, 2024. (eBook available here with library card).

Contact   for Massachusetts law about elders' issues

Last updated: May 6, 2024

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