Category Archives: Massachusetts Probate Lawyer

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.

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.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Assist with my Estate Plan?

If you are considering planning your estate, you may be enticed by the idea of doing it yourself to save money. Many websites offer “simple” solutions and forms that can be purchased for less than an attorney.  These forms are usually over-generalized and may not be legally viable for your unique situation. Estate planning is a complex, difficult, legal-intensive process. One wrong word or missing signature can void your entire estate plan. With an estate planning attorney there to help, you can be much more confident that any resulting trusts and documents will be tailored to your exact situation. It is all too common that someone plans their estate poorly without an attorney, which ends up costing their family time, effort, and thousands of dollars later in order to fix the problems in the estate.

Extended family in living room smiling ready for estate planningState Laws affect Estate Plans More than Anything Else and Differ Greatly Among States

State laws are extremely specific about every possible minute detail of any part of an estate plan. The exact format, procedures, language, and rules are different in every state, and a good estate planning attorney will know these differences and understand how to plan your estate accordingly.

This may not sound like a big problem, but what if your assets are in multiple states? What if your trustees are in multiple states? Estate planning attorneys understand the nuances related to these issues and can resolve them and plan your estate to fit your situation.

Common Estate Planning Issues that an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Solve

  • You have substantial assets in 401(k)s and/or IRAs
  • You were recently divorced
  • You recently lost a spouse or other family member
  • You have a taxable estate for federal and/or state estate tax purposes
  • You’re in a second (or later) marriage
  • You own one or more businesses
  • You own real estate in more than one state
  • You have a disabled family member
  • You have minor children
  • You have problem children
  • You don’t have any children
  • You want to leave some or all of your estate to charity

Choosing a Nursing Home

Whether for yourself or a loved one, choosing a nursing home is an important and often difficult decision. Thoroughly discuss the issue of nursing home living with the individual involved and their personal physician.  It is critical to consider the travel abilities of those who will be visting the nursing home.  The first narrowing of your search can be base on these limits.

Nursing Home Tour

1. Research and Prepare for Nursing Home Visits

  • Schedule  appointments for informational meetings and tours of nursing homes through the homes’ admissions representatives. It is important to acquire copies of the facility’s brochure, admissions policies, and the resident’s bill of rights.
  • Receive additional information by contacting the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and asking to speak with the ombudsman who represents the nursing homes that you are interested in.
  • Contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality to get the “Survey Performance Tool for Nursing Homes” or a copy of survey findings and complaint reports for the nursing homes that you are considering.

2. Your Nursing Home Visits

  • Meet with the admissions representative, administrator, or other contact.
  • During your tour of the nursing home, observe and take mental notes about the interactions between staff and residents.
  • Try and speak with the residents and staff about their feelings and experiences.
  • Make observations, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

3. Narrow Your Choices and Make a Selection

  • After eliminating some of your choices, try to re-visit remaining nursing homes at a different time than you visited before.
  • Schedule a meeting with an administrator to discuss specific concerns regarding care needs or personal preferences.
  • Request that you participate in specific care planning sessions and decisions.
  • After selecting, make sure to visit often and take an active role in your loved one’s care.

If you or a loved one would like legal advice regarding estate planning, trusts, or nursing home abuse, please contact The Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin

It’s Never Too Early to Draft a Will: Tips and Information

Estate Planning and Drafting a Will

It’s never an easy topic to address, but if you care about what happens to your assets after death, creating a will is a prudent decision at any age.  Unfortunately, death can be unexpected and untimely; it is never too early to draft a will.

Last Will and TestamentDo I need a Lawyer to draft a will?

Today there are multiple websites and online providers of wills, while potentially cheaper than working with an attorney, using online avenues to create your will poses some serious risks.  Wills generated online or by programs are much lower quality overall.  They may not take differences in probate law among states into account, which could void your will.   If you have assets worth creating a will, you probably have enough money to make paying the little bit extra to work with an attorney worth it.

How much are standard attorney fees to create a will?

Fees vary, but it should not be difficult to find a qualified lawyer who will work with you to draft a will for only a few hundred dollars.  Besides probably having more expertise than a website or program, lawyers wish to keep their bar license and are therefore motivated to ensure that you receive a high-quality thorough document.  Additionally, the personal interaction is always a plus when creating a document that is so important to your personal life.

Lawyers can help fill major gaps in your legal knowledge and correct false assumptions that many people make.  For example, wills do not generally govern a person’s retirement account, which is usually someone’s most valuable asset.  There is a completely different set of rules that governs what happens to those assets.  However, if you work with an attorney to create your estate plan, you will have much more control over factors such as these, factors that you may have overlooked otherwise.

It’s as easy as asking a lawyer!  If you would like information or assistance with estate planning, contact The Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin today!

How to Locate a Lost Will

massachusetts-elder-law-attorneyMisplaced wills can be a source of stress and confusion after a loved one has passed away and can cause frustrating legal issues for their heirs. A missing Will could indicate that the deceased had the original revoked or replaced, which can open up an even messier can of worms. Even if you are able to obtain a photocopy or an original will, it may be considered invalid if there are other natural heirs to the estate. Each state has differing rules on photocopies. If you are only able to locate a photocopy, seek out the advice of a lawyer.

–Check for obvious hiding places: under a mattress, between the pages of a book, desks, filing cabinets, stored boxes, cars, and wall or floor safes. Safes are often located in closets or garages and are usually found in places that are not obvious to the casual viewer.

–Search the house for a safe deposit box key. Keys are over-sized and are often aluminum or silver in color; they will also often have “Do not duplicate” written on the face of the key.

–Locate the bank or savings papers of the deceased and call the institution to see if there is a safe deposit box that is rented in the name of the deceased. You may need to obtain a court order to gain access to the box if you’re not listed on the signature card.

–Check the belongings of the deceased to see if there are any cards, canceled checks, or correspondence from a lawyer. Call the law firm to see if they drew up papers or referred the deceased to another firm that handles wills.

–Contact friends and business partners of the deceased to see if any of them were there to witness the will signing or if they were involved in discussions about it with the deceased. Address books and email accounts of the departed may have the names of those who they were in contact with regularly.

–Find out if the state you are in required the will to be filed at the courthouse as a public record. If so, call the courthouse and ask for the Probate department to see if you can gain access to a copy of the will.

If you need assistance from a qualified Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney concerning anything from Wills to Nursing Homes, please contact Adam Tobin.

Probate Lawyers and Your Estate

In an article from the Los Angeles Times’ Business section, the author breaks down how an estate plan can save taxes and avoid family fights and probate problems. It delves into the topic by discussing the subsequent fallout that can result from the lack of an estate plan.

probate70% of Americans die without an estate plan, because they do not like thinking about the subject matter of wills while they are still around. But if you are included in this statistic, and decide not to write a will or have an estate plan, your estate (with all of your assets) gets brought into a court process called probate. During this time, the court decides, based on the law of the state, who gets what. This can typically mean that after your debts are paid, your estate goes to your children and surviving spouse. If there is no immediate family, the estate goes to the next blood-or adopted- relatives.

If this doesn’t sound complicated yet, introduce a children who don’t get along, blended families, husbands and wives with separate property upon entering marriage, or your intended heirs to your estate who aren’t typically considered your closest relatives. In order to prevent wrong people getting your assets, you need a plan.

Though almost everyone needs a will and it is recommended that you find an estate planning lawyer to execute it for you, the downside is that it won’t keep your estate from probate. However, many people can and do avoid probated because it is time-consuming, public, and costly. So with the aid of a probate lawyer, make a list of your assets – and Massachusetts estate planning lawyers like Adam Tobin can assure that your final wishes will be carried out.