Category Archives: Probate Lawyer

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.

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 there 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

If you would like to speak to an experienced, highly regarded estate planning attorney about wills, estate planning, medicaid planning, or general questions, please contact The Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin today!

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!

Why You Should Create an Estate Plan Today

Estate planning is not only for the elderly. Even if you don’t think you have any significant assets to protect, it could be beneficial to consult an estate planning attorney and discuss your options. If you know anyone who has had to deal with the loss of a loved one who didn’t have an estate plan they will probably tell you, in retrospect, that they wish they had made specific arrangements. There’s a reason why people say “Always be prepared!” Here are some major reasons why you should consider creating an estate plan today:

Avoid Probate

The main reason that many people create an estate plan is to avoid probate. Probate is the process of the administration and distribution of the estate of a deceased person. This legal process is typically carried out according to the person’s legal will. However, if the person does not draft a will the probate court will administer the person’s estate according to state statute. As a result of horror stories in the media of families dealing with probate, most people often want to avoid probate at all costs. Creating an estate plan is an effective solution.

Reduce EstateEstate Planning Taxes

Another good reason to consult an estate planning attorney about creating a plan is to reduce estate taxes and/or state inheritance taxes. Depending upon the individual’s situation, the payment of these taxes can account for a significant loss of an estate. Through simple planning you can make estate or inheritance tax much less burdensome or nonexistent.

Avoid Stress

Many times when people have personal experience, or witness someone, go through the process of dealing with the administration of a loved one’s estate they’re more likely to meet with an estate planning lawyer. Not having a plan in case you become mentally incapacitated or pass away can be overwhelmingly stressful for loved ones to deal with. Creating an estate plan is a proactive way to avoid family feuds and costly court proceedings.

Protect Beneficiaries

One of the main reasons for creating an estate plan is to protect beneficiaries. Beneficiaries could be either minors or adults. When creating an estate plan with minor beneficiaries in mind you should appoint a guardian and trustee to oversee the minor’s finances until they are of age (either 18 or 21 years old, depending on the state in which they live). If the beneficiary is already an adult but has trouble managing money you should create an estate plan which will protect the beneficiary from their own bad decisions.

It’s always good to plan ahead – contact elder law attorney Adam J. Tobin today to discuss the best steps toward creating your own estate plan.

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.

Estate Planning 101

The idea of “estate planning” can be a bit intimidating for some people, which is unfortunate since the main reason of doing so is making sure your loved ones are provided and cared for.

Estate Planning 101

Another misconception of estate planning is that it is only for the elderly, however, if you are a parent with children who will need care and direction, it is better to start planning your estate earlier in case you suddenly become incapacitated or worse.

Estate planning needs to be factored into your overall financial plan, along with your children’s college tuition and your retirement needs in order to be really effective. Your estate consists of all your property, which includes your home, personal property like cars and furniture, and intangible property like insurance, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, and pension and social security benefits.

If you die without a will, your property will still be distributed, and essentially, by not leaving a valid estate plan, state law will end up writing your will for you. So what can estate planning do for you?

Provide for your immediate family

A good estate plan makes sure that your spouse and loved ones are provided for. Couples with children can ensure their education and upbringing is not left to chance. For children under 18 years of age, both you and your spouse should have a will that nominates personal guardians for them. If that is not specified, a court would have to decide where your kids will live and who will make all important decisions for them regarding their money, education, and way of life.

Provide for other relatives who need help and guidance

If you have a family member, such as an elderly parent or disabled child, whose life would become more difficult without you, establishing a special trust fund would be a good way to ensure their future.

Get your property to beneficiaries quickly

By planning ahead, you can make certain that your beneficiaries receive the property you’ve left them promptly and without unnecessary expenses and court interference.

Plan for incapacity

Use living wills and durable powers of attorney to plan for possible mental or physical incapacity; pick someone you really trust to make important health and financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapable of doing so for yourself.

Minimize expense

Estate planning can reduce the expenses associated with transferring property to beneficiaries, such as probate costs, and by reducing these expenses you will be leaving more to your loved ones.

Choose executors/trustees for your estate

By choosing competent executors/trustees, you can save your estate money, reduce the burden on your survivors, and simplify the administration of your estate.

Ease the strain on your family

You can take a lot of the burden off your grieving loved ones by planning ahead for funeral arrangements and other expenses, and by letting your loved ones know how you want your affairs to be handled so they do not have to deal with unnecessary added stress.

Help a favorite cause

Your estate plan can help support religious, educational, and other charitable causes, either during your lifetime or upon your death, and at the same time take advantage of tax benefits designed to encourage charitable giving.

Reduce taxes on your estate

The idea is to get the maximum amount possible to go to your loved ones and designated beneficiaries. Properly planning your estate can help you with that, giving the maximum allowed by law to your beneficiaries and the minimum to the government.

Make sure your business runs smoothly

If you have a small business, the operation could turn to chaos without you there to guide it. A good estate plan can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of your business affairs by spelling out what will happen to your interest in the business.

estate-planning-lawyer-can-help-you-plan-your-estate

Consulting an elder law attorney, such as Adam Tobin, could prove very helpful when it comes to planning your estate. Contact Adam Tobin to get helpful advice from a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

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.

Finding a Probate Lawyer

The unfortunate need for a probate lawyer is typically due to death of a relative or loved one. Although this is a difficult time, your efforts should go into finding a good attorney.

So what type of probate lawyer do you need? There are two overarching types that you should be aware of: those that handle administrative duties, and those who will represent clients in court. There is the instance where a lawyer can practice both – but as a general rule, they will sway in one direction. If you are in a suit over an estate, you should look for a litigator: if not, a transaction attorney may be your best bet. An elder lawyer with expertise in trusts or estate planning will be skilled in these situations.
You’ve determined that you need an elder attorney, and even understand which one you should get. Now, how do you find them?

Do some research – start by asking friends and family. This is a trusted source for referrals, as they will have first-hand experience on a suitable lawyer. Then, do some internet searches:  make sure that you read comments and reviews to gain some insight on the elder lawyer.

Once you’ve come up with a list, follow these steps to come up with some appropriate finalists:

1. Check the practice website for biographical information, including specialties, and probateeducation.
2. Contact the state bar to determine whether or not they are in good standing.
3. Check the membership directory of local, state, and national associations. Do you see a listing for your candidate?
4. Look for individuals with practices located in the same area.
5. Ask for references.

When you are about to make a selection, make sure to factor in your instinct to your decision. It’s important to feel a connection with your lawyer, as chances are you will be embarking on an emotional journey – and they will be at your side. Make sure to contact elder lawyer Adam Tobin today to see what he can do for you.

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