Category Archives: Massachusetts elder law attorney

Protect Your Assets by Planning for Long-Term Health Care

Planning long term health care in Massachusetts.

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought into paying for the care you’ll need as you get older. In fact, a new poll shows that two-thirds of Americans have done little to no planning for their own long-term care needs.

However, it’s vital to do so. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of people over 65 will need some type of institutional care, and that care won’t come cheap. The average cost of a nursing home tops $50,000 per year, and assisted living facilities cost about $3,000 per month.

For many, the cost of long-term care can deplete your assets and any property you had hoped to leave to family members. Plan now so you can protect your estate.

1. Consider long-term care insurance
Many long-term care insurance plans pay not only for care in a nursing home, but also for care at home or in an assisted living facility. The plans can be expensive for many seniors, but the premiums will be lower the earlier you purchase coverage. There’s a lot of variability among long-term care policies, so be sure to explore all your options and get expert advice before selecting a carrier.

2. Identify a healthcare and durable power of attorney
Have an attorney draw up a durable power of attorney and one for healthcare. These documents identify the person(s) who will make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or become unable to manage your affairs.

3. Learn how to protect your assets
The majority of people who need nursing home care rely on Medicaid to foot the bill. However, this option means you’ll have to spend your existing assets on your care first before Medicaid begins paying. An experienced elder care attorney can help you protect your assets by developing an estate plan. If you wait until you’re in a nursing home, it’s probably too late.

Pitfalls to Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

Take Massachusetts estate planning advice from expert Elder Law Attorney.You probably know the joke about the only two certainties in life: taxes and death. Chances are you are willing to pay an experienced tax professional to help you with filing your taxes to avoid being audited by the IRS, but many people take the oppositeapproach for their estate planning. While going the do-it-yourself route works great for making bookshelves, designer inspired accessories and coffee shop knockoffs, it’s not a great idea when you consider that you’re dealing with a lifetime’s worth of assets that you want to be distributed in the way you see fit.

By hiring a Massachusetts elder law attorney, you can avoid some of the common pitfalls that cause people’s estates to nearly vanish into thin air:

Document Wording and Proofreading- It doesn’t take long for an estate lawyer to draw up a will that uses legally accurate terms, is error-free and will stand up in court. They can point out errors in wording or figures, which would have helped to poor person who left $200.000, instead of $200,000, to her sister!

Witnesses and Signatures- With a DIY will created on the internet, there’s thepossibility that it’s validity is challenged since witnesses may not have been presentwhen it was signed. Also, the court could question whether the signatures are real or not.

Tax Advantages- Intuitive as it is, a piece of computer software can’t understand all the complexities of the financial and tax laws in the United States. A professional estate planning attorney can help you understand the best ways in which you can leave your money to your heirs without them incurring hefty fees and taxes.

Many people avoid hiring a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer because they believe they won’t reap the benefits. But it’s far better to spend the money now and protect your assets so that your heirs get all of your assets, and without unnecessary complication. Contact us today for help with your estate planning needs.

Massachusetts Estate Planning Advice — How Should I Divide My Assets?

Knowing how to divide your assets with estate planning lawyer.Whether you are getting older and want to make sure your assets are in order, or you are helping an elderly parent to plan their estate, it is important to consult a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer when making these important decisions. A person who is qualified in estate planning law can help you make some tough decisions, especially when it comes to dividing assets among spouses, children, siblings and personal friends. The following are three tips you can use when dividing your estate.

  • Start by choosing who you want to receive certain items and monetary inheritances. It is important that the people you wish to include are included in your estate plan. Be sure to specify when and how they should receive their inheritance, whether it is monetary or a tangible item.
  • Keep in mind what personal property items might have sentimental value to specific heirs. You will want to outline everything as explicitly as possible. Once you or your loved one has passed away, the only binding document that will be left is the will.
  • Make sure you have selected a trustee who is responsible, honest and trustworthy. This will be the person who helps to distribute the estate to the rightful heirs. You will want to select a person who you know personally, and who you can trust will be objective when it comes to dealing with all of the heirs involved.

Your personal Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can help you maneuver through this difficult process, but these three basic tips will help you get started. When you come to your first planning meeting prepared, you will find that the process of dividing your assets and planning your estate will be much less cumbersome. It is important that involved parties such as living spouses attend these meetings as well, so that everyone is on the same page and is prepared when the time comes.

Deciding When to Make a Living Will

Contact a massachusetts elder law attorney today for advice on living wills.If you are caring for aging parents or grandparents, you may be wondering if it is time to discuss writing a living will with your loved ones. The subject is often emotional and can be difficult to bring up in casual conversation. The best time to discuss the future is when everyone is healthy, perhaps as retirement approaches or shortly thereafter.

A living will gives people the opportunity to record their desires about medical care if they become incapacitated due to illness or injury. The document becomes their voice and ensures personal wishes are known when they can no longer speak for themselves. It is important to record these wishes before mental acuity starts failing.

The first step is to write down instructions for family and medical providers. Then consult a professional attorney with elder law experience. A legal expert can help you put the information in a legally binding document that the courts will recognize as valid.

In order to protect your rights, consulting with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney is advisable. Massachusetts is one of only three states that do not have specific living will legislation. However, the court may still consider the contents if a lawsuit is filed regarding medical treatment.

Today is a good day to start the conversation. Contact the law offices of Adam Tobin, Elder Law Attorney, for more information about living wills and elder law matters.

Making the Most Out of Your Elder Years

For more information about retirement and Massachusetts Elder Law, call the Law offices of Adam Tobin, today!You’ve worked hard all of your life, and you want to enjoy your retirement years. You don’t want to worry about your affairs and finances while you are supposed to be having fun. Seek the services of an elder law attorney to help you plan and prepare so you can have a good time with family and friends. If you are an individual with elder parents, use this advice to help them prepare for their retirement with the help of an elder lawyer.

Planning for Your Life

Seek the services of a living trust attorney to help you set up a trust to take care of your finances now. All your financial obligations will be handled, and you will have money to enjoy and spend without worrying about tomorrow. Be sure to factor in your living expenses, and expenses you will have after you pass, such as funeral expenses and other obligations.

Wills and Trusts

Seek the services of an estate planning attorney, such as the Law offices of Adam Tobin, to set up a living will and trusts to manage your funds while you are alive. This will also allow you to take care of your loved ones after you pass away. You might also wish to seek the services of a probate lawyer to head off any problems that may arise.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Getting a divorce is the last thing on most people’s minds when doing an estate plan, but even couples with the best intentions sometimes end up in divorce court. Having your original estate planning documents revisited is an important step after the divorce process.

One of the first estate plan priorities after divorce is the removal references to your spouse as your power of attorney, trustee or executor. This happens automatically to many documents under some state laws, but it’s important to make the changes as soon as possible.

Another big area of concern with any estate plan after divorce would be any minor children and their named guardians and conservators. New people need to be chosen to fulfill these obligations in the event of yours or your ex-spouse’s death. This is especially important if there are any minor children in the family who have special needs. During this process, reconsider how money is distributed to minor children in the event of your death. Your estate plan should be set up so that someone who is your ex-spouse will not have control of your minor children’s inheritance.

Changing beneficiary designations on life insurance plans, although normally handled through the divorce, is also a key point. The most important are qualified retirement plans like 401Ks. Make sure documents that were anticipated by the divorce judgment, like the transfer of a house to the spouse, are carried out. Don’t forget to record new deeds for all properties that were previously joint-ownership.

People often assume when they get a divorce judgment everything has been done. Some of the actions taken after divorce are just as important for future security as the divorce itself.

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes in Massachusetts

estate_tax_planningEstate taxes can take quite a chunk out of one’s inheritance, but there are a few ways to reduce them without getting on the wrong side of the law:

1. Charitable Transfers

Not only is giving to charity good for society, it can really reduce the level of estate taxes. This is mainly because these transfers are considered a means of reducing the total estate size. An estate planning attorney may suggest that you provide a lifetime gift in order to also reduce income taxes.

2. The Q tip trust allows married couples to reduce their estate taxes. It helps the couple to take full advantage of all federal and state exemptions. After the first spouse dies, the estate is split into three separate parts. One part is placed in a credit shelter trust. The second piece is placed in a marital trust. And the final portion can be passed directly to the surviving spouse. Depending on the age of the spouse, a nursing home attorney may be used to help divert this money to needed care.

3. Special Needs Trust

As estate holders grower older, they are more likely to become disabled. With the help of an elder attorney, a disabled senior is eligible to put money into a special needs trust for use in paying medical bills. Not only does this allow those with special needs to pay for expensive treatment, it reduces the total level of taxation on the estate.

4. Family-Owned Business

If you own a family business, your estate planning lawyer will advise you to use that information when planning your estate. There is a federal deduction allowed to those working in family-owned businesses. However, a family business needs to meet a number of specific qualifications in order to be eligible for the tax deduction. First, the business needs to be located in the United States and the owner or owners must be United States citizens. Next, the decedent must have worked with the business for at least five years and must own at least half of it. The resulting interest deduction may not be worth founding a new family business for, but it can help out greatly if you already own one.

5. Actual Use

This type of estate savings is one of the most difficult to come by, and will definitely require the expertise of a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer. You may already have noticed that real estate is valued at its highest possible value. For some people, this results in land being valued higher than it actually should be. Special permits can be obtained to lower the value to its “actual use,” thus allowing estate owners to pay a far lower tax rate than would otherwise be possible.

For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin, today!

What is the Difference between Personal Property and Real Property

Let your Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer help you with real property.

Let your Massachusetts Estate Planning Lawyer help you with real property.

When it comes to estate planning, the most important step is to find an elder law attorney. It helps to have an impartial mind at work to make sure your assets are taken care of properly. A Massachusetts elder lawyer can help with wills, set up trusts and making sure that documents concerning transfer of property are done correctly. Most importantly, you’ll be able to ask questions throughout the process. One topic of discussion with your estate planning lawyer will be the difference between personal property and real property. Both are defined by Federal Law.

Real property is your land and any structures you have built on that land. This can include your home, commercial and/or agricultural buildings. As an example, if you own a farm, your real property includes the acreage of that farm and all buildings on that farm.

Personal property includes all other property, such as cars, boats, clothing and furniture as well as stocks, bonds, bank accounts and other personal items. Going back to the farm analogy, your barn would be your real property, but your tractors and other farm equipment would be considered personal property. Changing this to a city scenario, your house is real property, but all the furniture, appliances (except built-in) and your car are personal property.

It is important to understand this concept when planning your estate. When land is transferred, whether by sale or inheritance, by law all real property is included in that transfer. Unless there is a specific agreement, personal property is not included. Your estate planning lawyer will make sure that the details of your estate outline any such special agreements.

Planning an estate can be a complicated issue. Some of the forms, particularly to do with the transfer of property, are complex and there is no room for error. Protect your family’s future, and preserve your peace of mind by getting an elder lawyer to help with that planning. Contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin.

Tips For Making Your Estate Planning a Smooth Process

estate-planning-paperworkIf you feel that the time has come for you, or an elderly loved one, to truly finalize your estate planning, the time is now to contact an elder law attorney or an estate planning lawyer. When you go for your consultation with a Massachusetts living trust attorney, it is important to have in mind an idea of how you would like your estate planning to go. Below are some useful tips and guidelines that will help you as you work with your Massachusetts elder lawyer.

1. Consider including a simultaneous death clause, which will pass your estate onto your children in the event that your spouse dies shortly after you do.

2. In order to disinherit a child, you must spell that out in your will.

3. Remember to keep beneficiaries on your pension, life insurance and 401K current.

4. Be sure to designate an executor as well as a back up executor.

5. Store your personal and private information in one designated location in the home, preferably a fire proof safety deposit box. This box should include important personal and financial records, as well as computer passwords and PIN numbers.

6. Understand the impact of estate taxes and discuss with your estate planning attorney some options for reducing or avoiding estate taxes.

Remember that upon your death, your family and loved ones will be going through an emotionally taxing as well as stressful time, and you will help them considerably by having your affairs in order. It is important to recognize that with age comes certain responsibilities, and that the sooner you have your estate and other affairs in order, the better off you and your loved ones will be. Contact an elder attorney with any questions you might have regarding Massachussetts and even federal law, and set up an appointment to begin the process of finalizing your affairs. You will feel at ease, and your family will be glad to know that an already taxing time will be much less stressful because of your willingness to work ahead.

Picking the Right Trustee

estate-planning-trusteeYou don’t need to be a living trust attorney to understand just how difficult estate planning can be. One of the most challenging parts of planning an estate is choosing the appropriate trustee. An estate’s trustee is the person responsible for managing all assets in your Revocable Living Trust. You can choose to have a person, organization or company represent you as the chief trustee.

It is important to find someone who will be dedicated to carrying out your wishes, whether or not that person agrees with the direction you’ve chosen for your estate. You also need to find a trustee who will act with complete responsibility. Here are a few other considerations to think about when selecting a trustee:

Trustworthiness

The word trust is included in trustee for a reason: the trustee must be a person or an organization that you trust. The trustee is going to have a lot of control over your estate, so it would not be prudent to choose someone who you didn’t feel was capable of carrying out that task.

Family Members

Depending on the type of trust you’re holding, your family members may or may not be able to serve as trustee. You’ll want to check with your estate planning attorney to ensure that a family member is eligible to be named trustee. You’ll also want to take the ages of potential trustees into account if you are thinking of naming your children or grandchildren. As in most states, the minimum age to be named a trustee in Massachusetts is 21.

There are certain advantages to remaining in the family. The reduced cost is definitely something worth considering. You are likely already paying the fees for a probate lawyer, elder attorney or other professionals. A family trustee would mean one less bill to pay. The main disadvantage of naming a family member as the trustee is that he or she probably has absolutely no experience in these matters. The responsibilities of trustees have grown increasingly complicated, so you may not feel it is your place to give a family member such as huge responsibility to take care of.

Professional Advisor

Some people feel that estate planning is best left in the family, but there are certain advantages to hiring a professional to carry out the process. A professional advisor understands the entire estate planning process, and will be more likely to keep all records and information organized. The professional can work closely with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney to keep everything in order. Although there is some extra cost involved in hiring a professional, you may actually end up saving money in the long run. A professional trustee will know how to minimize estate taxes and other costs typically associated with estate planning. In the end, you’ll want to discuss such considerations with your family so that you can make the appropriate decision.