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Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

What are powers of attorney?

The future is unpredictable. We don't know when something can happen that might incapacitate us from being able to make important governing decisions about our estate. But what is in our control now is the ability to put certain things in place so that if we were to die or become incapacitated, our estate and other practical matters would be put into the hands of a trusted person that will become an agent.

Legal documents that allow a person's wishes to be set down in this way is called a power of attorney (POA). This blog will provide a brief overview into how powers of attorney work, the different types and the uses that they have.

What are tax exemptions?

When planning your estate or considering whether to create a will or a living trust, it is important to consider whether you will be entitled to tax exemptions. Tax exemptions allow you to be able to lower the income that can be taxed, therefore increasing your pocketable income. Tax exemptions must be claimed, and you are generally able to claim them on your own behalf, but also on behalf of your spouse and any dependents that you have.

This blog will provide a brief overview on tax exemptions and how personal exemptions tend to differ from exemptions made on behalf of dependents.

Preparing for an efficient audit

When creating a retirement plan or a living trust, you must ensure that you are ready to have your tax return examined at any time. It's very important that you are prepared for this and you have the information that the auditors will require readily available.

This blog will provide a brief overview of some useful tips that will assist you if you are having your retirement plan or trust audited by the IRS.

What are testamentary and inter vivos trust funds?

Trust funds are a great way of compounding and building wealth in the long-term. There are two main types of trust funds, and it can sometimes be difficult to understand the differences between the two. These two types are testamentary trust funds, and living trusts. Living trusts are also commonly known as inter vivos funds, and that can lead to some confusion.

This blog will offer a brief walk-through of both testamentary and inter vivos trust funds, how they work and what the differences are.

What are powers of appointment?

In 1951, the Powers of Appointment Act was established. This was one of the greatest developments in the tax and estate planning sector. A power of appointment in broad terms means that a person has the power to dispose of a property, and they hold that power even if they do not own the property in question. This could be a "reserved" power or a "donated" power.

This blog will give a brief overview into what powers of appointment are and how they can be used to a person's benefit when estate planning.

Your rights when it comes to inheritance law

Survivors have certain rights to a family member's property after they have passed away, and these rights are governed by inheritance law. Going by this law differs from state to state, but you may be able to claim inheritance from your spouse, regardless of what has been written in their will. This right depends on whether the state follows community property law or common law.

In Massachusetts, common law is followed, therefore this article will be focused on how common law governs in regards to inheritance rights.

Should I fund a spendthrift trust for my adult son or daughter?

Parents who have the means to leave significant portions of their estate to their adult children are sometimes stymied by those very heirs when it comes to structuring the assets.

For instance, a parent with three grown children may desire to leave the same amounts to each child. Two of the three are responsible, hard-working and fiscally conservative with funds. The third struggles to maintain steady employment, has had a few brushes with the law and filed twice for Chapter 7 bankruptcy over the past few decades.

Complying with an audit from the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) occasionally runs audits on tax payers to make sure that they are processing all of their revenue and taxes properly. This can be a stressful process to go through, and can be avoided by completing a thorough and computer-processed tax return.

The blog will act as a brief overview into how to attempt to avoid an audit, and if audited, how best to comply with an audit from the IRS.

Tips on signing a will securely

When completing a will, it is important to first ensure that you have abided by all of the content rules that your state requires. Once you have completed a valid last will and testament, the final and most vital step is to ensure that you have signed it securely and properly.

This blog will serve as a brief overview on the correct way to sign a will.

Married couples: Remember the small things in your will

When most people sit down to make a will, they think of the big items: the home, the bank account, the investment portfolios, the life insurance policies. They may be more prone to forget about the small things.

Big items are important and should certainly be considered. However, if you pass away before your spouse, provisions may already be in place to help with the transfer.

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