55Plus: Elder Law – How to minimize your taxes


Who likes paying taxes? No one! Below are some ways you may be able to minimize or avoid taxes:


  • Abatements. Contact the assessor’s office to inquire.
  • Senior tax work-off. 
  • The state “circuit breaker” program. If your taxes (plus 50 percent of water/sewer bills) exceed 25 pecent of your annual income, Massachusetts will reimburse you for part of the bill, up to $1,000.


  • Maximize your medical deductions. For seniors who get a lot of care at home, or live in an assisted-living or nursing home, the cost of care may be a medical deduction.
  • Offset your gifting. Give tax-deferred money to children with less income, and balance it off by increasing the shares to the others from other assets, or consider giving your IRA to charity.


  • Don’t worry about it unless your estate will be worth more than $1 million when you pass away.
  • Give it away before you die. If you give away all your assets the day before you die, you will have reduced your taxable estate to zero and, therefore, your estate tax to zero.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com. I will also focus on this issue in my August virtual seminar, which will be aired on your local cable station, Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV). You can also find the seminar on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary. Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel may be a helpful resource during COVID-19, as my co-hosts and I address many common issues facing seniors and the resources available during the pandemic through weekly virtual local cable TV shows.

Arthur P. Bergeron is an elder law attorney in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.