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Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

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.

How to pass down a family home in an estate plan

  • 01
  • July
    2014

Many Massachusetts homes have been in families for generations. Although one might think it would be as simple as handing over the front door key to a son or daughter, passing down a valuable asset like a home is much more complex.

Because family homes are often extremely valuable -- both sentimentally and financially -- it’s important to make sure all of the necessary steps are taken so that the asset can be handed down properly.

According to a recent article from Forbes, here are a few important steps to take:

How to talk to a loved one about an estate plan

  • 24
  • June
    2014

An estate plan is something that everyone needs, but most people don’t want to talk about. That’s because it deals with an uncomfortable subject: death. For that reason, it can be especially hard to suggest that someone else such as a parent or a spouse needs an estate plan.

Recently, a Boston news station featured a story on this very topic. The story suggested that the best way to start the conversation is by saying that you saw an article on estate planning and that you think it might be wise for the loved one to get his or her “affairs in order.”

Why a will isn't enough to protect your estate

  • 17
  • June
    2014

Many Massachusetts residents mistakenly believe that all they need is a will in order to protect their assets and property when they die. However, even with a valid will, the probate administration process still must take place, which is a long, expensive and public court proceeding.

The good news is that probate administration can be avoided with careful estate planning. Ultimately, the goal of estate planning is to avoid probate by creating a revocable or an irrevocable trust and funding the trust before death. 

Conflicts of interest in will drafting

  • 10
  • June
    2014

All lawyers in Massachusetts must follow the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, which provide the standards for legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Lawyers who practice estate planning in the state must be especially careful to follow the ethical guidelines set forth in the rules because this is an area of law in which attorneys often assist multiple members of a family as well as their own family members.

Young, wealthy and without an estate plan

  • 03
  • June
    2014

In the past, most people didn’t earn a significant income until well into their 40s or 50s. However, today we have plenty of young entrepreneurs who have made millions before becoming middle-aged, thanks to the tech industry.

Oftentimes, these individuals are coming into extreme wealth before getting married or starting a family, which makes developing an estate plan all the more important, especially if they want to incorporate charitable giving.

How to protect your digital assets in an estate plan

  • 29
  • May
    2014

We now live in a world where many of our most prized possessions are housed on computers, websites and cloud-based storage. Additionally, we now access many of our valuable financial accounts online, often opting to receive paperless statements and communications.

But what would happen if you lost access to your online email, photo, music and financial accounts? You’d probably be devastated, right? Well that’s how many family members are left feeling after a loved one dies and they are essentially locked out of these accounts.

Steps for creating a pet trust

  • 20
  • May
    2014

Last week, we discussed how Massachusetts residents who care deeply about their pets can create trusts that provide for their furry friends in case they are no longer able to do so themselves.

With May being National Pet Month, we wanted to explore the topic of pet trusts and estate planning a little further.

As we stated in the previous post, while we would like to think that our beloved pets will be taken care of when we are gone, including a pet in an estate plan can help ensure that happens.

Protecting a furry family member with a pet trust

  • 14
  • May
    2014

Many people in Massachusetts have pets such as dogs or cats that they consider family members. Although our furry friends don't have life expectancies as long as we would like, it is possible to be outlived by a pet.

While a pet owner would like to think that someone would step in and care for the pet if need be, that unfortunately doesn't always happen. After all, no one loves a pet as much as its owner.  Luckily, Massachusetts residents who care deeply about a pet can include the pet in their estate plans.

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