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Waltham, Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

Estate planning—the ultimate gift of love to surviving family members

  • 24
  • August
    2015


As human beings, we all spend a tremendous amount of time and energy worrying. In many cases, the sources of our worry are about future unknowns and things that we feel as though we have little to no control over or power to affect. This is often especially the case when it comes to issues and concerns related to end-of-life matters.

For many people, even thinking about drafting a will or a health-care directive produces severe anxiety as both revolve around attempting to plan for unknown and uncontrollable circumstances. In reality, when it comes to one's future care and end-of-life matters, there are many things that an individual can plan for and have control over. What's more, taking steps today to plan for one's future healthcare needs and the distribution of one's personal belongings and assets takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of a surviving spouse and children.

Helping Massachusetts residents plan for the future

  • 18
  • August
    2015

From landing a first job and buying a first home to getting married and having a baby, life is full of milestones that forever change one's perspective, responsibilities and priorities. With each life change, both big and small, it's important to take stock and make adjustments to one's future plans.

The estate planning process helps an individual identify, prioritize and plan for the people, things and events that really matter in their lives. As an individual moves through life and births, marriages, deaths and divorces occur; estate planning adjustments must be made accordingly.

Survey finds same-sex couples need to address finances

  • 13
  • August
    2015

While same sex marriage has been allowed in Massachusetts for over 10 years, the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the legality of such unions, has brought to light some of the matters that same sex-couples should address. For example, LGBT couples need to make sure that their estate plan adequately reflects their wishes regarding their spouse.

A survey conducted by Wells Fargo in July, indicates that more same-sex couples need to discuss financial matters. Matters that same-sex couples failed to discuss include: their personal view on money, whether to merge assets and accounts and the joint obligations that arise once married.

An estate plan should evolve and change with your life

  • 06
  • August
    2015

Upon hearing the term estate planning, many people experience feelings of anxiety and worry. Let's face it, no one wants to think about their own mortality and many people solely equate the estate planning process with just that. In reality, there are numerous reasons why, regardless of age or health, it's important to take steps to establish an estate plan.

For parents with minor-age children, it's crucial to provide for a child's future care and financial security. A will can be used to account for guardianship of a minor-aged child in the event a parent passes or is otherwise incapacitated and cannot attend to a child's everyday care. Additionally, a trust can be used to provide for a child's future financial needs while also allowing a parent control over how and at what age trust assets are distributed.

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.

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