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Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

How to avoid unintentional tax evasion

Everybody wants to arrange their taxes so that they are advantageous and maximize their income as much as possible. While this is a natural and smart thing to do, many people accidentally cross the line and engage in practices that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers tax evasion or fraud.

Therefore, as a person that is filing their personal income taxes, it is important that you make sure that you know where the line is drawn and how you can minimize taxes while keeping within the law.

The regulations for powers of attorney

If you suffer from a disability or have a condition that is expected to progress over time, then you may have thought about the possibility of you becoming incapacitated, and therefore unable to make legal decisions, at some point in your lifetime. In order to prepare for this possibility, it is likely that you have considered selecting a power of attorney that can act on your behalf legally when this time comes.

Selecting a power of attorney that you can trust helps you to gain peace of mind about your finances, as well as your medical future. However, there are certain rules and regulations that you should be aware of before selecting your power of attorney.

How to get strategic about protecting your assets

Protecting your assets should never be an afterthought of wealth acquisition. The way that you manage your assets and investments can be one of the key indicators of long-term wealth and the future of a legacy.

Asset protection planning is a strategic way to continually assess how your assets should be managed based on your long-term goals. The following are some things that you can start doing today to manage your assets better.

Why should I consider challenging a will?

The vast majority of wills get passed and go through the probate process smoothly. However, in around 1 percent of cases, there is an issue where for one reason or another the will is not deemed to be valid.

These problems with wills getting passed usually lie with ambiguities in the will itself, or speculation from a person close to the deceased person that that he or she was coerced or manipulated into writing the will. There are many reasons why it might be a wise decision to challenge a will. Some of the most common reasons are highlighted in this blog.

Understanding constructive trusts

Navigating the world of wills and the many different types of trusts can be overwhelming at first. But the more that you read about the different options available to you, the more you will begin to understand that the many different options will actually work in your favor, offering you flexibility, and something for every financial and personal need.

So, what are constructive trusts? Constructive trusts differ slightly from a stereotypical trust, because they are not written up by a lawyer based on the property owner's wishes. They are instead created by the courts in order to prevent a certain outcome that would be unfair or unjust from occurring.

Tips on writing your own will

It is estimated that over 65 percent of people in the United States have not written their will yet. Many find the act of writing a will and facing the prospect of the end of their lifetime to be an unsettling feeling, and therefore, a task that they would rather postpone. However, writing a will can be a very rewarding experience where you can take pleasure in defining the legacy that you leave behind.

As you grow older, your assets are likely to accumulate. This means that younger people are unlikely to feel the need to write a will. However, if you are married or have children, it is probably a good idea to start thinking about writing a will now, so you are well-prepared for the future. The following are some tips in writing your own will.

Your financial checklist after the death of your spouse

Losing your spouse can be one of the most emotionally challenging things that you will ever have to go through. It is important that anyone going through the loss of his or her spouse seeks emotional guidance and counseling as a first priority. Your mental health and the process of grieving is the most important thing to take care of.

When you are ready, you will need to go through the financial process. If it is possible, you should ask the help of close friends and family when you are doing this. They will be able to support you at the difficult points.

How to choose a financial power of attorney

One of the biggest decisions you can make in regard to your future is to select a financial power of attorney. This can be a very overwhelming process for many and is something that requires a great deal of consideration and care.

It is vital that you can trust this person to make decisions as though they were you.

Navigating federal estate taxes

Only a small minority of people are affected by federal estate tax. In fact, between December 2012 and March 2016, only .2 percent of Americans needed to pay federal taxes on their estate. However, state taxes are still applicable to many Americans today.

Federal estate tax only applies when the value of the property at the time of the grantor's death exceeds $5.49 million. This means that for the vast majority of people, federal estate taxes will never be an issue.

Avoiding undue influence claims in your will

Creating a will or a trust is as much about planning the legacy that you will leave for future generations as it is about achieving a peace of mind for yourself so that you know everything will be taken care of at the end of your life. In this way, it is natural for people to be concerned about relatively common problems that occur in relation to wills, trusts and probate. One of these issues is when loved ones appeal against the conclusion of the will based on the grounds of undue influence.

What is undue influence?

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