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Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

Who needs an estate plan in Massachusetts?

  • 16
  • September
    2014

When it comes to estate planning, one of the biggest misconceptions is that only wealthy people need one. This simply isn’t the case. In fact, most people in Massachusetts and the rest of the country would benefit from an estate plan.

That’s because estate planning means a lot more than deciding who will inherit your assets when you die. It also includes making decisions about end-of-life care, guardianship of minor children and funeral arrangements.

Joan Rivers didn't fear death, she prepared for it

  • 11
  • September
    2014

There was no subject that was off-limits for the late comedienne Joan Rivers. She even joked about getting older and death. In the months leading up to her passing earlier this month, she would often joke about losing her memory. In a recent tweet she quipped: “I must admit I am nervous about getting Alzheimer’s. Once it hits, I might tell my best joke and never know it.”

Rivers’ ability to shine a humorous light on heavy issues such as aging and death was something nearly everyone could respect about her. But she didn’t just joke about death, she took the necessary steps to prepare for it. Rivers was smart enough to create a living will that granted her daughter the authority to tell doctors to take Rivers off of life support after a surgical procedure went terribly wrong.

We assist fiduciaries seeking legal advice or representation

  • 03
  • September
    2014

A fiduciary is a person or entity that is tasked with a legal duty to act solely in another party's interests. Under the U.S. legal system, the fiduciary duty is the strictest duty of care, and breaches of this duty can result in criminal and civil liability.

Fiduciaries tasked with settling an estate or managing a trust face a lot of responsibility and pressure. While most executors, trustees and conservators are only trying to do the right thing, the complex Massachusetts probate law and disgruntled family members can make that a very difficult task.

Before retirement boomers should revisit their estate plan

  • 29
  • August
    2014

Over the course of the next decade, more and more baby boomers will be leaving the workforce to spend their retirement with their significant others. However, before these boomer couples head to the golf course, beach or airport to start spending their hard-earned money, they may want to set aside some time to review their estate plan.

While this may seem like a strange or even morbid exercise, the fact remains that with older age comes enhanced health risks. Indeed, statistics show that over half of all married women in the U.S. are widowed by the age of 65.

What then should boomer couples look for when reviewing their estate plan?

More details revealed about the estate plan of Robin Williams

  • 22
  • August
    2014

A few weeks back, both the entertainment world and movie fans across the globe were shocked to learn that actor Robin Williams had passed away. Regarded as both a comedic genius and highly accomplished dramatic actor, Williams left behind a wife, his third to whom he was married for three years, and three children, ranging in age from 22 to 34, from his prior marriages.

In the aftermath of his passing, questions naturally arose as to whether Williams, whose films grossed an estimated $6 billion, had any sort of estate plan in place prior to his passing.

Interestingly enough, multiple news outlets have reported that both public records and documents leaked during Williams' divorce from his second wife in 2009 reveal that he did indeed have the necessary instruments in place to manage his considerable estate.

Does your estate plan account for the dynamics of your family?

  • 08
  • August
    2014

Families have always been complex, even if a century ago divorce, remarriage and adoption weren't as common as they are today. In any case, you'll want to create a comprehensive estate plan that reflects your family's particular goals and needs.

For example, if you have biological children and stepchildren, then the length of time you've been with your stepchildren may affect how your assets will be distributed. Should your biological children receive more? Or should you make equal provisions because all of them -- the stepchildren and the biological children -- were young when you remarried? The answer will depend on your family's particular dynamics.

When prenups and estate plans overlap

  • 31
  • July
    2014

As more Americans are choosing to get married later in life, prenuptial agreements are becoming more common. The biggest reason for this is that spouses are bringing more property into marriages than ever before, including real estate, retirement plans and businesses.

Oftentimes, an individual who wants to protect certain assets with a prenup also wants to provide for his or her spouse and/or children in the event of death. When that is the case, a prenup is often accompanied by estate planning tools to meet all of the goals the individual is trying to achieve. 

What are the elements of a comprehensive estate plan?

  • 25
  • July
    2014

The unfortunate reality is that excuses abound when it comes to executing an estate plan. Indeed, statistics show that over 50 percent of the population here in the U.S. has not taken a single step in this regard, with people frequently citing the same excuses such as their age, their lack of assets, or their lack of time.

The simple truth, however, is that these types of excuses are often nothing more than a cover for the fact that people are uncomfortable with the notion of planning for their own passing. While this is certainly understandable, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that an estate plan can actually grant much-needed peace of mind, as you will know that the necessary documents are in place and things will transpire according to your exact wishes.

How revocable and irrevocable trusts could help your estate plan

  • 16
  • July
    2014

Trusts are an important facet in the estate plans of many Massachusetts residents. Trusts can be created to meet a variety of unique needs such as tax minimization, probate avoidance or creditor protection.

The most common type of trust used by our clients is the revocable trust. Also known as the "living trust," this estate planning tool allows assets to be added or subtracted over the years as needs and circumstances change.

Probate litigation plays out like 'bad Lifetime movie'

  • 09
  • July
    2014

The granddaughter of a wealthy widow said her family has been through what can only be described as a “bad Lifetime movie” after they were allegedly swindled out of the family fortune by a man who befriended the grandmother.

The man, who is 66-years-old, was recently sent to jail after being unable to show the court what happened to much of the 87-year-old widow’s estate after she passed away and he was left as the personal representative of the estate.

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