Massachusetts law about elders' issues

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

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Table of Contents

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 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.”

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

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.

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.

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, 2019.

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, 2019.

Get it together : organize your records so your family won't have to, by Melanie Cullen, Nolo, 2020.

IRAs, 401(k)s & other retirement plans : strategies for taking your money out, by Twila Slesnick, Nolo, [2021].

Long-term care : how to plan and pay for it, by Joseph L. Matthews, Nolo, 2020.

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, 2021.


Last updated: February 17, 2023

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