Category Archives: Probate

Three Ways a Lawyer Can Save You Money

Attorneys Who Specialize in Massachusetts Elder Law Save You MoneyWhile it may be tempting to forego retaining an attorney, trying to navigate elder laws in Massachusetts all alone can be a costly mistake. Attorneys who specialize in elder law, including estate planning and nursing home supervision, come highly trained. They’re in tune with the latest updates and tweaks to the legal system.

Most importantly, these elder law attorneys know how best to locate money that’s owed to you — money you had no idea you had coming.

Veteran’s Benefits

You and your loved one may have no idea whether you qualify for veteran’s benefits, but a goodMassachusetts elder law attorney does. Choose one who’s accredited to work with the Veteran’s Administration and who can file claims on your behalf. You could save thousands of dollars through benefits afforded you by the VA. Everything from long term health care to prescription reimbursement could be yours for the asking if your elder law attorney files a claim.

Medicaid

If you retain a Massachusetts nursing home attorney, she may be able to find financial assistance through Medicaid payments. Long term medical care in a qualified nursing home is expensive, but if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, you might not have to foot that daunting bill all alone.

Probate

Probate can tie up an estate for years and prevent intended heirs from receiving property that was rightfully willed to them. A competent Massachusetts estate planning lawyer will know how best to guide you through the state’s probate laws. Even better, if your loved one plans well enough in advance, with the help if his attorney, you may be able to avoid the costly pitfalls of probate all together.

Don’t try to go it alone in the Massachusetts elder law system. Hire a professional to keep your best interests at the forefront of all legal communications.

A Guide to Power of Attorney for your Parents from Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

If one or both of your parents become incapacitated or may become so in the future, to the point that they aren’t able to make crucial financial decisions, whether it be preparing and signing their tax returns, paying their bills, or making sound decisions on investments or savings, it would be a good idea for them to draw up power of attorney agreements granting authority to a third party such as one of their children, or another family member, to make financial decisions or transactions in their behalf.

The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch states that a power of attorney can cover all financial matters, or it can be specific, providing authority to handle for example, only investment accounts, or only covering their day to day financial matters such as paying bills, or using money from their bank account with a specific limit. A Massachusetts elder law attorney drafts durable power of attorney agreements specific to the state of Massachusetts, and in a way that dignifies both parents and children.

Corporate and Government financial Information advisors Financial Finesse outlines several scenarios in which parents might want to give power of attorney to their children.

1. If a parent is mentally competent presently but needs help with day to day financial activities, or in dealing with specific banks or other financial institutions. This limited, narrow power of attorney provides needed help and perhaps an added measure of peace of mind to the mentally competent parent.

2. If a parent is single or if the parent’s spouse is not mentally competent to exercise power of attorney, then it would be wise to have another person who has power of attorney on record in the event of an unexpected situation where the parent is not able to handle their financial matters.

3. A specific durable power of attorney can be prepared covering a specific period of time during which a parent might be temporarily unable to care for their financial matters or specific financial matters.

The Wall Street Journal notes that most law firms can assist clients with the necessary paperwork and that it is necessary to have forms notarized. After notarizing the documents, it would be wise to give copies to all parties including financial advisers or institutions and your attorney, and/or your parents attorney.

While some simple forms may be generic, each state generally has their own power of attorney forms. In Massachusetts one such form is the M-2848 from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. A competent and compassionate Massachusetts estate planning lawyer will provide needed assistance covering all aspects of a power of attorney between children and parents in a manner that is equitable, legal, and that ensures the greatest security.

Preventing Complications with a Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney

When a loved one passes away without a will or when an elderly family member is planning to write up a will, it is important to understand the probate laws in the state. Working with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help simplify the process, but having some basic knowledge before talking to a lawyer will make the process of creating a will easier.

Following the Will

Working with a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer to create a will is the best way to prevent complications for loved ones. A lawyer can explain the laws regarding inheritance so that it is easier to determine who will receive different items.

In the state of Massachusetts, the legal system follows the will. Unless the will is contested, items are passed along according to the desires of the individual who created the will.

When a Will is Not Created

When a will was not established before a loved one passed away, hiring a probate lawyer may become a necessity. The probate lawyer can help determine if a case is possible and explain the inheritance laws in the state.

In Massachusetts, property that is owned jointly will automatically transfer full ownership to the other party. Tenancy by the Entirety also applies to married couples in Massachusetts, so a spouse will usually inherit a house or similar property, even if it was not a joint asset.

Any funds that were set aside in a Payable Upon Death account will go to the stated beneficiary. The state does not take Payable Upon Death accounts to probate.

If certain assets are not held jointly or there is a debate about who will receive the assets, then the case may go to court. The case will ultimately decide the division of assets based on the relationship with the deceased party.

It is best to work with a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer before passing away. Creating a will prevents loved ones from going to court and ensures that assets are given to the appropriate individuals.

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.

Top 5 Massachusetts Probate Law Changes

New Massachusetts Probate Laws went into effect Spring of 2012.In Massachusetts, there have been several recent changes to the probate law. These changes went into effect in early 2012 and makes a major impact on everyone who will be working with the will of a loved one or any aspect of elder law. Look at the top five Massachusetts probate law changes and find out how they may affect you now or in the future.

Introduction of New Probate Terms – For instance, the person who is in charge of overseeing the probate process for the estate is no longer called an executor but instead a personal representative.

New, Informal Probate Process – This new probate law allows an executor (personal representative) to be appointed in as few as seven days.

Intestacy Laws – When someone dies without a will, the old laws gave half the estate to the children and half to a surviving spouse. Now if the surviving spouse is the parent to the children, he or she gets 100% of the estate.

Exempt Property – There is a new concept of exempt property, which is not part of the claims of creditors. Certain family members are entitled to receive this property and a family allowance. A Massachusetts probate lawyer can help you figure out the eligibility requirements.

Time Limit Shortened – The time limit for probating a will is shortened from 50 years to 3 years. This is important as it can cause a will to more quickly move into Intestacy, even if there is an executor declared.

Protecting Yourself From Senior Scammers

For more information about Massachusetts elder law contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin today!We used to think of predators as the unscrupulous who lurked in strange places looking for vulnerable children. Today, their targets have expanded to include another vulnerable, yet trusting group: senior citizens. Because so many seniors are so isolated and because they usually have steady income and other assets, they are particularly susceptible to crimes from scammers looking for an easy payday.

It is a sad reality, but here’s how you can help protect your aging loved one. First, understand that scams can range from mail fraud asking seniors for money in exchange for an award to gaining legal rights to assets through deception. Sometimes, scammers can be complete strangers, but often they establish relationship with the senior first, then manipulate the senior for their own purposes. The best way to protect against this type of fraud is to hire an estate planning attorney to create documents such as wills, powers of attorney and living trusts. Though it may sound intimidating, a competent elder law attorney can easily walk families through the process for a much lower cost than one might think. Even if your loved one now resides in a nursing home, advice from an experienced and professional nursing home attorney or probate lawyer can protect assets, set your mind at ease and nullify scamming activity. For more information contact the Law Offices of Adam Tobin today!

Tips to keep earning even into retirement!

income-after-retirementA large number of American’s don’t have enough money saved for retirement, so it’s important to find ways to keep earning and saving well into retirement. Here are four ways that can help you keep a large portion of your nest egg in tact.

Have A Retirement Plan
It’s important to create a plan for how you’ll spend and earn money during your golden years. You’ll want to work with a trusted professional to decide which types of investments, such as stocks, bonds and annuities, are best for your income needs and have a purchasing plan. A Massachusetts elder law attorney can help you develop a legal document that outlines your preferences for how your investments should be handled if you become unable to manage them.

Work Part-Time
When you get tired of watching television, have played your tenth round of golf in a week or just need more interaction with people, consider taking on some work to bring in extra money that you can spend or use to invest. A Massachusetts elder attorney can help you with the legalities of starting a small business such as doing lawn care or cooking for busy parents.

Rent Out A Room
If you haven’t downsized the home in which you raised your family, consider renting out extra rooms, storage or garage space to earn extra cash each month. An elder attorney can help you draw up legal documents for you and your tenant to sign.

Create A Will
You’ve worked so hard to create wealth, it would be a shame to see it all disappear to taxes. Let an estate planning attorney help you make a will so that your assets can be divided among your heirs. A probate lawyer can explain this process and how you can preserve your assets by having legal documents prepared.

Ten Reasons to Consult an Estate Planning Attorney

Helping your elderly parents face the financial and health-related challenges that come with growing older can put quite a strain on your other responsibilities. Enlisting the help of the right professionals leaves you with more time to spend with your family. Since there are complex state and federal regulations regarding wills and other paperwork necessary for settling an estate, it is best to consult an experienced estate planning attorney. There are ten specific benefits to working with an elder lawyer.

1. Ensure the last will and testament of your parent or relative is legally binding and properly designated.

2. Designate a power of attorney contract to ensure the right person is responsible for making medical and financial decisions if the person becomes incapacitated.

3. Create a living will. Living wills help your elderly relatives make their wishes clear and save you a lot of stress when the time comes for difficult decisions.

4. Avoid mistakes. A practicing estate planning lawyer can craft a strong will that covers all the bases, while most packages designed to help you do it yourself lack coverage of crucial areas.

5. Handle any business or investment transfers smoothly and without delays.

6. Address complex situations where blended or extended families are involved. Planning the estate is much more complicated if your elderly relatives have had more than one marriage.

7. Minimize the taxes heirs will need to pay by choosing the right type of trust.

8. Update and change any existing wills and estate paperwork. Changing laws and family structures make old agreements insufficient very quickly.

9. Take care of disabled family members for their rest of their life. A good probate lawyer can help craft a plan that ensures that the people in your family with special needs never go without support.

10. Make the process easier. Planning an estate is stressful for both the elderly and their helpers, but an experienced professional helps.

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.

Why choosing an elder law specialist is best for you and your parents

Elder law attorneys can provide the best solutions to financial and legal plans for your loved ones.

Elder law attorneys can provide the best financial and estate planning solutions for your loved ones.

If you are responsible for elderly parents or relatives, you already know you have many issues to consider. Hiring an elder law attorney – a person that specializes in the laws concerning seniors – is a smart move. If your relative has considerable assets or complicated financial issues, you need the services of an elder attorney; a person that knows about estate planning, living trusts, nursing home issues, and probate. All of these issues can be handled by an elder law specialist.

An estate planning attorney or estate planning lawyer helps seniors plan their wills. Often this means selecting a power of attorney who acts in your place for financial purposes. An attorney can help you with problems that arise from appointing a power of attorney with financial institutions. A planned will details who will acquire what property and money when you die. The will can include bank accounts, IRAs, property, jewelery and expensive collections. A complicated binding document like this demands the expertise of an estate planning attorney.

A living trust attorney can help seniors with different types of trusts used to manage their assets. For example, there are revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and supplemental needs trusts. Each one has a different purpose and reason for being formed. A MA elder attorney will know all the ins and outs to select the best trust for you or your relative.

A Massachusetts elder lawyer is qualified to help you with any number of important issues. Some of these include disability planning, long term health care decisions, nursing home issues, Medicaid, Medicare, and even at-home care. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney is always ready to help the elderly find the best way to plan their estates. Estate planning is a complex legal issue that only a good Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can handle.

Do you have an elderly relative that has to go into a nursing home? A massachusetts nursing home attorney is qualified to help you assess your financial situation and interpret the many laws that apply. It is a complicated and confusing issue to tackle alone. A good attorney can help your family keep some of their money while still giving your relative good quality care. A lawyer can help you with Medicare, insurance plans, and Medicaid – all ways of paying for long term health care.

An experienced nursing home attorney can help you decide where your elderly relatives will live. An assisted living community may be a better option than a nursing home, or perhaps your elderly relatives just need some help to live in their own home. A qualified Massachusetts nursing home attorney can help you find the best long term care solution for your family members or friends.

Do you want to tackle the probate issue that come up when an someone dies? A probate attorney can help you plan for this process. You can make a will ahead of time, so it is available when probate occurs. Often in probate a will is examined and property is appraised. Some property can avoid probate – this is why a good probate attorney should advise you of the issues at hand.

When seeking sound financial planning for an elderly relative or friend in Massachusetts, contact an elder law attorney to help you with the complex laws and issues that can make this process difficult. You’ll be happy you did, and your relatives will be glad you took the time to find them the best solutions for their financial and legal plans.