Neeley, Lisa Headshot

Lisa M. Neeley


Lisa Neeley is a Partner in the firm’s Trusts and Estates Department and a member of the Elder Law practice group. She focuses her practice on elder law with an emphasis on Medicaid applications and appeals, estate and special needs planning, probate administration, and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.

Lisa’s area of expertise is focused in the preparation and filing of complex MassHealth applications and in providing client representation in appeals of applications that have been denied for a variety of legal reasons. Lisa also represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries who challenge MassHealth estate recovery actions. To that end, Lisa has successfully represented clients in appeals regarding benefit eligibility issues before the Office of Medicaid Board of Hearings, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Additionally, Lisa has been retained to serve as an expert witness with regard to Medicaid eligibility and trust fiduciary litigation matters.

In addition to her elder law practice, Lisa routinely assists clients of all ages in the preparation of estate and long-term care planning documents, including powers of attorney, health care proxies, wills, and trusts used to accomplish various planning goals. Lisa also advises special needs individuals regarding estate planning documents best suited for the lifetime management of funds, while maintaining eligibility for government benefits. She appears in Probate Court to represent individuals and families in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, estate administration, and fiduciary litigation matters.

Lisa frequently speaks to bar associations, attorneys, and financial professionals regarding long-term care and estate planning topics. She has published several law review articles concerning long-term care planning and Medicaid eligibility topics. Lisa has been quoted in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Law 360, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Lisa is an active member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and serves on the organization’s public policy committee and litigation committee. In 2016, Lisa was a recipient of NAELA’s John J. Ford Litigation Advocacy Award in recognition of her dedication and commitment to people as they age and to individuals with special needs. Lisa has been named a Massachusetts “Super Lawyer” by Boston magazine and Law & Politics since 2018. In 2021, Lisa was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

NOTE: Lisa is available to meet with clients in either our Boston office or her Westborough office at 1900 W. Park Drive, Suite 280, Westborough, MA 01581.

Representative Experience

  • Fournier v. Sudders, 488 Mass. 43 (2021), Lisa prevailed on behalf of her client in a 2021 SJC case in which the Court ruled that a retained limited power of appointment to charities/non-profit organizations in an irrevocable trust was not countable in a Medicaid eligibility determination.
  • Guilfoil v. Sudders, 486 Mass. 788 (2021), Lisa prevailed on behalf of her client in a 2021 SJC case in which the Court ruled that a nominee trust was not countable in a Medicaid eligibility context.
  • Dermody v. EOHHS, 491 Mass. 223 (2023) (petition for cert. pending)
  • Daley v. Executive Office of Health and Human Services & another (Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid), 477 Mass. 188 (2017). Lisa successfully argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of the Plaintiff, Lionel Nadeau, regarding a challenge by Medicaid to the use of an irrevocable trust in a long-term care benefit eligibility determination. The case established the precedent that a residence held in an irrevocable trust should not be treated as a countable resource in a Medicaid benefit eligibility determination because the grantor retained a life estate or the ability to use and occupy the residence held in the trust.
  • Heyn v. Director of the Office of Medicaid, 89 Mass. App. Ct. 312 (April 15, 2016). Lisa successfully represented the plaintiff in obtaining a reversal of a prior Medicaid denial as a result of resources held in an irrevocable trust. The case established the precedent that resources held in an irrevocable trust should not be considered countable in a Medicaid benefit eligibility determination simply because the trustee can purchase an annuity with trust assets, or allocate between principal and income.
  • Regularly represents clients in all phases of complex long-term care and community based Medicaid applications.
  • Provides representation at Medicaid appeals before the Board of Hearings, Superior Court, and Massachusetts Appellate Courts.
  • Represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in disputes with MassHealth estate recovery concerning contested probate claims.
  • Provides representation in probate court to obtain guardianship and conservatorship for the purpose of assisting with long-term care planning goals, and in fiduciary and beneficiary litigation matters
  • Prepares estate and long-term care planning documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care proxies to assist with client goals of asset preservation and continued lifetime management of funds.
  • Advises individuals with special needs on proper estate and long-term care planning techniques with consideration of continuing public benefit eligibility issues, such as SSI, SSDI and MassHealth.
  • Serves as an expert witness in regard to Medicaid, long-term planning, and fiduciary litigation matters.
  • Represents individuals involved in nursing home litigation matters regarding payment disputes and resident rights issues.

Recognition and Awards

  • Listed, “Top 50: Women Massachusetts Super Lawyers”; 2022
  • Listed, “Top 100: 2022 Massachusetts Super Lawyers”; 2022
  • Named, Boston magazine, Top Lawyers, Elder Law, 2022-2023
  • Selected, Massachusetts Super Lawyers List, 2018-2023
  • “Lawyer of the Year” – Mass Lawyers Weekly; 2021
  • “John F. Ford Litigation Advocacy Award” – MassNAELA; 2016

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Member, Boston Probate and Estate Forum
  • Fellow,  The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Massachusetts Chapter
  • Member, Boston Estate Planning Council (BEPC)
  • Member, USA500 Clubs, Westborough/Worcester Chapter

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Caring for your loved one in a nursing home, caring for yourself as guardian, and navigating MassHealth,” Massachusetts Guardianship Association Annual Conference (September 28, 2023)
  • Chair and Panelist, “Medicaid and MassHealth Planning Update,” MCLE (June 22, 2023)
  • Panelist, “Upgrade your Medicaid Planning Toolbox,” Mass. NAELA’s Annual Elder Law Institute , NAELA (May 12, 2023)
  • Speaker, “Massachusetts Medicaid Asset Planning: A Practical Toolkit,” NBI (April 12, 2023)
  • Quoted, “MassHealth annuity policy may be tested in U.S. Supreme Court,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (April 2, 2023)
  • Speaker, “MCLE Latest Techniques for Middle Class Estates,” MCLE (February 8, 2023)
  • “MassHealth Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association Probate Law Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association (November 4, 2022)
  • Quoted in, “Nursing homes are suing friends and family to collect on patients' bills,” Health News, NPR (July 28 2022)
  • Chair and Panelist, “Medicaid and MassHealth Planning Update,” MCLE (June 18, 2022)
  • Panelist, “Trusts and Estates Updates,” Massachusetts Bar Association Presentation , Massachusetts Bar Association (June 14, 2022)
  • Presenter, “Planning for Elderly and Disabled Clients,” Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum (June 1, 2022)
  • “Planning for Elderly and Disabled Clients,” ACTEC New England Fellows Institute (February 10, 2022)
  • “Latest Techniques for MIddle Class Estates,” MLCE (February 9, 2022)
  • Quoted In, “SJC once again has MassHealth in its crosshairs,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (January 28, 2022)
  • “Drafting Successful Medicaid Trusts,” MCLE (December 7, 2021)
  • “MassHealth Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association Probate Law Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association (November 9, 2021)
  • Chair and Presenter, Medicaid Law Update, Half Moon Education (October 22, 2021)
  • Keynote Speaker, MA Guardianship Association Annual Conference (September 24, 2021)
  • Co-presenter, “Considerations After Death: Learn About the Latest Developments Regarding Spousal Annuities and Estate Recovery” (September 24, 2021)
  • Quoted In, “SJC Hands MassHealth Another Defeat in ‘War on Trusts’,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (July 29, 2021)
  • “Medicaid & Healthcare Planning Update 2021,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • “Nominee Trusts and MassHealth,” On Air with Mirick O’Connell legal podcast (March 22, 2021)
  • Quoted In, “MassHealth Loses Latest Battle in 'War on Trusts',” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (February 18, 2021)
  • “Latest Techniques for Middle Class Estates,” MCLE Webinar, MCLE (February 3, 2021)
  • Chair, “MassHealth Update 2020,” Half Moon seminar (December 9, 2020)
  • Chair, “Drafting Successful Medicaid Trusts,” MCLE panel, MCLE (December 8, 2020)
  • “Medicaid Update,” sachusetts Bar Association Eighth Annual Probate Law Conference (November 21, 2020)
  • “Medicaid Estate Recovery: Recovery: Friend or Foe?,” ACTEC Law Journal (Fall, 2020)
  • Radio Guest, “Making Money Last, America's Retirement Resource!,” WRCN Radio (June 3, 2020)
  • “Update on the latest litigation about naming annuity beneficiaries when applying for MassHealth,” Mass NEALA Lunch & Learn webinar (May 20, 2020)
  • “Key Nursing Home and MassHealth Issues Amid COVID-19,” On Air with Mirick O’Connell legal podcast (May 18, 2020)
  • Panel Chair, “Medicaid and Healthcare Planning Update 2020” (May 18, 2020)
  • “Protecting the Elderly: Coronavirus and Nursing Homes,” Mirick O’Connell’s Massachusetts Injury Lawyer Blog (April 22, 2020)
  • “The Coronavirus Crisis: Changes to Long-Term Care and Estate Planning,” Mirick O’Connell Client Alert (March 18, 2020)
  • “Latest Techniques for Middle Class Estates,” MCLE (February 5, 2020)
  • “Current Trends in MassHealth and Estate Recovery Litigation,” Estate and Business Council of Worcester County (January 30, 2020)
  • “MassHealth Estate Recovery Litigation,” Massachusetts NAELA (January 29, 2020)
  • Quoted In, “State can’t take annuity for spousal MassHealth costs,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (January 23, 2020)
  • “Drafting Successful Medicaid Trusts,” MCLE (December 2019)
  • “MassHealth Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association Seventh Annual Probate Law Conference (November, 2019)
  • Chair and Presenter, “2019 MassHealth Update,” Half Moon Seminar (October 2019)
  • “Protecting Assets While Applying for Medicaid,” National Business Institute (October, 2019)
  • Quoted In, “Elder law bar: MassHealth ‘war on trusts’ rages on,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (August, 2019)
  • “Special Needs Trusts,” National Business Institute (May, 2019)
  • Chair and Presenterq, “How to Fix a Broken Trust,” MCLE (April 9, 2019)
  • “Drafting Successful Medicaid Trusts,” MCLE (December 6, 2018)
  • “2018 MassHealth Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association Annual Probate Conference (November 9, 2018)
  • Chair and Presenter , “2018 MassHealth Update,” Half Moon Seminar (October 18, 2018)
  • “Discussion of Daley v. Executive Office of Health and Human Services,” Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum (January 3, 2018)
  • “MassHealth Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association Fifth Annual Probate Law Conference (November 3, 2017)
  • “Medicaid and Use of Irrevocable Trust in Long-Term Care,” NAELA Lunch and Learn Presentation (September 27, 2017)
  • “Estate Planning 101: Trust Basics,” Massachusetts Bar Association (September 19, 2017)
  • “Irrevocable Trusts in Long Term Care Planning,” Merrimack Valley Estate and Business Planning Council (September 11, 2017)
  • “Recent Developments in the New England Region,” 2017 ACTEC New England Regional Meeting (September 9, 2017)
  • “Use of Irrevocable Trusts in Long-Term Care Planning – History and New Developments,” Boston Estate Planning Council (August 23, 2017)
  • “Discussion of the Daley Decision,” Massachusetts NAELA Webinar Program (June 28, 2017)
  • “1st Look at What the Daley and Nadeau Decisions Mean to Irrevocable Trusts and Medicaid Planning,” MCLE Presentation (July 19, 2017)
  • Quoted, “Bar wary even after SJC rules against agency,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (June 8, 2017)
  • Quoted, “Mass. High Court Delivers Win For Seniors in Medicaid Row,” Law360 (May 30, 2017)
  • Quoted, “SJC ruling is a win for seniors seeking nursing home coverage,” The Boston Globe (May 2017)
  • “Protecting Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid,” National Business Institute (NBI) Presentation (May 22, 2017)
  • Co-Author, “Powers of Guardians and Conservators,” Guardianship and Conservatorship Practice Under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, MCLE (2017)
  • “Limiting State Medicaid Agency Attempts to Expand the “Any Circumstances” Test: An Analysis of Massachusetts’ Multiyear Legal Battle Over the Use of Irrevocable Trusts in Long-Term Care Planning,” NAELA Journal, Volume 13, No. 1 (Spring, 2017)
  • Quoted, “The GOP Plan to Roll Back Medicaid Might Force More Couples to Get Divorced,” The Washington Post (March, 2017)
  • “Legal Intersection of Medicaid Eligibility and Special Needs Planning,” Association of Developmental Disability Providers (February 21, 2017)
  • Community Advocate, “Proposed MassHealth changes will make qualifying for long-term care more ” (February 3, 2017)
  • Featured, “Elder Law Bar Hoping SJC Turns Tide in War on Trusts,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (January 27, 2017)
  • “Irrevocable Trusts for Medicaid Planning,” Massachusetts Bar Association Fourth Annual Probate Law Conference (November 18, 2016)
  • Medicaid Planning, National Business Institute (NBI) Presentation (November 18, 2016)
  • “Current State of Irrevocable Trusts and Long-Term Care Planning,” Estate and Business Council of Worcester County (November 3, 2016)
  • “Revocable Living Trusts from Start to Finish,” National Business Institute (NBI) Presentation (October 19, 2016)
  • “Heyn v. Director of the Office of Medicaid: Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds That the Power to Purchase an Annuity Does Not Render the Corpus of an Irrevocable Trust a Countable Resource,” NAELA Journal, Volume 12, No. 2 (Fall 2016)
  • “Medicaid Appeals,” Annual Massachusetts NAELA Litigation Workshop Presentation (August 26, 2016)
  • “Irrevocable Trust Planning Update,” Montachusett Estate and Retirement Planning Council Presentation (June 16, 2016)
  • “Medicaid Trust Planning in Light of Roche: Free at Last or Bumps Ahead,” MCLE Presentation (May 20, 2016)
  • “Trends in Long-Term Care Planning with Irrevocable Trusts,” Boston Bar Association Presentation (May 17, 2016)
  • Featured In, ““MassHealth’s Termination of Medicaid Benefits Overturned, Elder law bar wins key battle in fight over irrevocable trust,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (April 25, 2016)
  • Featured In, “Fletcher Tilton Lawyers Win Tug-of-War with MassHealth,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette (April 24, 2016)
  • “Medicaid Planning,” National Business Institute (NBI) Presentation (April 20, 2016)
  • “Update on Current Medicaid Trends,” Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA Presentation (January 27, 2016)
  • Co-Author, “Estate Planning for the Aging or Incapacitated Client in Massachusetts,” MCLE Basic Practice Manual, Chapter 14 (2015 Supplement)
  • “Medicaid and Elder Law: Representing Clients in a New Legal Landscape,” Lorman Education Services (April 2012)