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Waltham, Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

Using a special needs trust to protect and provide for a disabled child

  • 28
  • July
    2015

The U.S. Census Department estimates that approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population is living with a physical or mental disability. For a parent of a child who is born with a serious medical condition or who is diagnosed with major depressive disorder, there are often many questions, worries and concerns about a child’s future and how he or she will fair once a parent passes.

Parents who wish to provide for a child with a disabling physical or mental injury or condition may choose to establish a special needs trust. While a special needs trust is similar to other types of trusts which regard to how it is funded, there are important provisions that must be included to help protect a beneficiary's eligibility and access to federal benefits.

Why the changing definition of ‘family’ matters for estate plans

  • 27
  • July
    2015

Financial giant UBS recently released the results from a study that shows just how much the definition of “family” has changed over the years, and why that matters for the estate planning world.

The study revealed that a whopping 34 percent of the high-net-worth or affluent investors who were surveyed said that they are part of “modern” family arrangements, including blended families, same-sex families and families with parents and adult children living together. (Thirty-five percent of respondents said that they live in traditional families, while 31 percent were single or heterosexual couples without children.)

Estate planning is an ever evolving and changing process

  • 16
  • July
    2015

There are many unknowns in life. These uncertainties become especially apparent when one contemplates his or her future long-term care and health needs. While there's no way to predict the future or truly know how much money you'll need or be able to leave to your loved ones, estate planning helps an individual gain more control over both his or her future as well as the financial security of surviving heirs.

Despite the many benefits afforded to those individuals, and their family members, who partake in the estate planning process; a Caring.com poll found that only roughly 56 percent of American parents have established a will or trust. Regardless of whether an individual is 30 and single or 70 and married with grown children and grandchildren, all individuals can benefit from taking steps today to plan for the future.

Planning for future needs in the wake of a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis

  • 07
  • July
    2015

While it's the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and ultimately affects one-third of elderly adults, many people fail to truly understand what Alzheimer's disease is or how it affects those who are both directly and indirectly impacted. Currently, more than 5 million Americans are believed to be living with the disease and, as individuals who make up the baby boomer population continue to age, that number is expected to "nearly triple...to a projected 13.8 million."

Currently there is no way to prevent, slow the progression of or cure Alzheimer's disease. There are, however, steps that an individual and his or her family members can take to ensure for one's future care and financial security, as well as that of a spouse, as the disease progresses.

Providing for a pet's future needs

  • 30
  • June
    2015

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are an estimated 75 million dogs and 85 million cats living in U.S. households. To many pet owners, a dog or cat is more than just a pet and is viewed as a member of one's family. It makes sense, therefore, that some pet owners want to take steps to ensure for a pet's future safety and wellbeing.

Much like a revocable trust provides for the financial security of an individual's living heirs, a pet trust can be used to provide for a pet's financial needs. By establishing a trust and naming a trustee to manage and carryout the terms of a pet trust, an individual can help ensure for a pet's future healthcare and living expenses.

Estate planning 101 for single adults

  • 24
  • June
    2015

Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a landmark shift in the societal makeup of the U.S. when it announced that single adults in the U.S. now outnumber those that are married. To put things into perspective of just how big of change this is, in 1950 only about 22 percent of U.S. adults reported being single. Today, that percentage has soared to 50.2 percent as a growing number of U.S. adults are delaying or foregoing marriage altogether.

Until recently, estate planning models were largely focused and geared towards meeting the needs of married adults with children. However, making plans and decisions with regard to where and how one's assets and belongings will be distributed are equally as important for single adults.

When can a will be contested?

  • 24
  • June
    2015

Many Massachusetts residents would likely consider a will to be the most important estate planning document. In many cases, a last will and testament serves as the cornerstone of a comprehensive estate plan and provides directives for the distribution of an individual's property, assets and personal belongings.

Given the significance of a will, it's important that individuals who draft or amend a will seek help from an attorney who handles estate planning matters. At times, a decedent's family members may have questions or concerns about the contents of a will. In cases where family members or other interested parties question the validity of a will or believe that a loved one was coerced or forced to make amendments to an existing will or draft a new will, legal steps may be taken to contest a will.

Why your personal property matters in your estate plan

  • 09
  • June
    2015

Most people focus heavily on their retirement accounts, investment funds, life insurance policies and real property when planning their estate, paying little attention to personal property such as family heirlooms, jewelry, art and collections.

However, personal property in many cases can be just as valuable -- sentimentally speaking -- so they should be included in your estate plan as well. In fact, planning for the distribution of personal property can help to prevent family conflict and it can help the estate administration process go much smoother.

With estate planning, a spouse can be the most important asset

  • 02
  • June
    2015

When it comes to your estate plan, it’s important to make sure that your spouse is up to speed. That’s because, as this article from MainStreet points out, your spouse can help make sure that your wishes are met when you die, and vice versa.

After all, few people know you as well as your spouse does. And chances are that you feel the same way on a lot of issues.

How a large IRA can cause tax problems for beneficiaries

  • 27
  • May
    2015

With no way of knowing what the future holds, there is no way of knowing how much retirement is “enough.”  

Many people without pensions or 401(k) accounts decide to put away as much as possible in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) because they know that any remaining assets will be transferred to their beneficiaries.

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