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Waltham, Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

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.

How to make your wealth last for future generations

  • 19
  • May
    2015

Thinking long-term is difficult for many people when it comes to estate planning, especially because of all of the uncertainties that the future presents. However, it is important for the very wealthy to think about future generations if they want to truly create a lasting legacy.

According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal on the topic, this is an issue that people experience when they are in the first generation of their families to have wealth. The article said that there are a few factors that can make planning for the distant future more accessible for these individuals, including:

Protecting your digital assets is easy and important

  • 11
  • May
    2015

Today, the Wall Street Journal featured an important reminder on estate plans and digital assets. It discussed how many people fail to address digital assets in their estate plans and it can be very difficult to access these assets after a person has died.

A financial adviser said that she now addresses digital assets in all of her clients’ financial plans after learning that fiduciaries have a duty to distribute both tangible and digital assets but fiduciaries aren’t always given access to digital accounts after the owner has died.

Long-term care planning is a must for most Americans

  • 05
  • May
    2015

More than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will end up needing long-term care services at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It’s difficult to imagine a point down the road where you or your spouse will need to move to a nursing home or another long-term care facility, but it is a possibility that you need to prepare for.

Keeping inheritances fair for your heirs

  • 28
  • April
    2015

If you are like most parents, you probably plan to leave a fair share of assets to each of your children when you pass. But it might be more complicated than just dividing your assets equally among your kids, because fair doesn’t always mean equal when it comes to estate planning.

Here are a few situations in which you may want to leave your children an unequal but fair share of your assets, and how to accomplish that:

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