Menu ${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}${}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Practice Areas
Let's Get Started!

Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

3 questions to ask as your parents age

Your parents are growing older. While it can be uncomfortable to talk about end-of-life situations, you know that it's important to do in time. What are some important questions to ask?

First, do you know what type of life support and end-of-life care your parents would prefer? Some people want all possible medical treatments, hoping for a recovery. Others never want to be put on life support, not wanting to drag things out and rack up medical costs. Every situation is different and people can choose whatever is best for them, but it's important for you to know what your parents desire.

How fast a trust has to be distributed

A loved one passed away, leaving behind assets in a trust. The idea here is that one person will administer the trust -- perhaps a sibling of yours -- and give the proper assets to the other family members.

The problem is that you feel like it's taking too long. There's no movement or progress. You think that the other person may actually be dragging his or her feet intentionally to keep from passing along the assets.

Why do people get cut out of wills?

Being cut out of a will can happen for a variety of reasons, and every situation is different. A parent may be unhappy with a child's life choices or may simply have fallen out of touch with that child. As varied as family life is from one family to the next, so are the reasons for disinheriting a child. However, there are three big reasons that some experts have noted:

1. Fear that money will be wasted.

Motivating heirs with an incentive trust

You want to leave money to your children, but the sheer amount of wealth is potentially problematic. You're going to leave them enough that they could each just live off of the trust. You're worried that such a windfall might kill their motivation. You want to help them, financially speaking, but you don't want to hold them back in other ways.

One option you have is to consider an incentive trust. The goals and incentives that are built into it ensure that they only get your money if they stay motivated.

Should you put your dog in your will?

As you create your will, you have a lot to think about. You need to consider all of your children, their children, your spouse, and exactly what you want to have done with major assets like the family home. As you do all of this, should you spend some time considering your dog? Does he need to be included in the will?

While what you do with your beloved pet is up to you, some strongly suggest adding your wishes to the will. This way, you know your pet will be loved and cared for after you are gone.

Using estate planning to reduce long-term tax burdens

While many people point to trusts as a way to shelter your assets from both taxes and creditors, the real truth is that overall estate planning and comprehensive financial strategy are the best way to reduce your tax burden. Estate planning goes hand-in-hand with financial planning, retirement saving and wealth building, making it a good idea to consult the right professionals on all these matters at an early age. No matter where you are in life, though, our firm can help you plan your estate to support the best financial benefits for yourself and your heirs.

One way to do this is to understand how estate taxes might play a role in your planning. Estate taxes can be levied by the federal government as well as the states. The federal government doesn't levy estate taxes on any estate worth less than $5.49 million, which means many people never have to worry about those taxes.

What do I have to do to probate an estate?

If you find yourself in the position of estate administrator for a friend or loved one who has passed on, you may not have a clue what duties are expected of you. That's quite understandable for those who have never before undertaken these tasks.

Naturally, the more vast the estate, the more complex the process will necessarily be. But even small estates can give administrators pause if they are unsure of the legal requirements.

Think about the various points necessary in your estate plan

Your estate plan is something that you need to make sure is fully prepared when you pass away. This doesn't mean that you can wait until you are at the end of the road to get things together. Instead, today is the best day to get your estate plan moving forward. We can help you learn about the options that you have for getting everything together.

One thing that your estate plan should include is your will. This document should include information about who is going to get the items that you have amassed during your life. It lets your heirs know your plans.

Do you know your responsibilities for estate tax planning?

Do you know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to planning for property taxes after death? Estate tax planning is not a minor issue. The fact is that too many Massachusetts residents' families suffer financial losses because benefactors do not properly prepare their estate before their departure. Knowing how much property you can exclude from the estate tax burden and figuring out how to maximize the amount your family is allowed to keep are key in promoting their financial success after your death.

Property transfer that occurs through an estate plan depends on an accurate valuation of a decedent's estate. If you do not know how much your property is worth, it is nearly impossible to tax. Massachusetts law requires beneficiaries to identify the "fair market value" for all property in the estate on the date of the decedent's death or within a six-month alternate valuation period. This information is critical for making sure that tax returns are filed legally within the state.

Keep the peace be establishing trusts for mineral rights

If your family owned land where there was oil or gas beneath the surface, no matter if the property changed hands numerous times, the mineral rights may be preserved for future generations.

This can be a very lucrative source of income for heirs, which is why many choose to include clauses in their wills stating that only the blood relatives could inherit these rights. The problem is, that may not be sufficient in some circumstances.

Serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts

Waltham Office
375 Totten Pond Road
Suite 200
Waltham, MA 02451

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Waltham Law Office Map

Boston Office
10 Tremont Street Third Floor
Suite 9
Boston, MA 02108

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Boston Law Office Map

Braintree Office
25 Braintree Hill Office Park
Suite 406
Braintree, MA 02184

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Phone: 617-523-1555
Braintree Law Office Map

Cranston Office
200 Midway Road
Suite 159
Cranston, RI 02920

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Cranston Law Office Map

Hyannis Office
1330 Phinney’s Lane
Hyannis, MA 02601

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Hyannis Law Office Map

Norwood Office
520 Providence Highway
Suite 10
Norwood, MA 02062

Toll Free: 888-759-5109
Norwood Law Office Map

Westborough Office
276 Turnpike Road
Suite 228
Westborough, MA 01581

Westborough Law Office Map

Woburn Office
444 Washington Street
Suite 203
Woburn, MA 01801

Woburn Law Office Map