Category Archives: Wills

Estate Planning Resource Roundup

According to the American Bar Association, 55 percent of Americans die without a will or estate planning documents in place. Estate planning can be a daunting task, but a qualified estate planning attorney can break down the process into doable steps for you and your family. Whether you’re a parent with young children, newly married and yet to start a family, or a senior with adult children, the time to begin the process of estate planning is now.

resource roundup

Here’s a roundup of some resources that will help you get started. We’re standing by to help you navigate and complete this process. Today is a great day to contact us and we’ll work with you every step of the way.

Getting Your Affairs in Order: Tips to Make Your Estate Planning a Smooth Process

What Is the Difference between Personal Property and Real Property?

The Dangers of a Do-It-Yourself Will

American Bar Association Estate Planning Overview

Kiplinger Estate Planning Special Report

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

Making a will doesn't have to be difficult or expensive, but it does take the desire to follow through. If you are working with, or considering finding a Massachusetts elder law attorney or Massachusetts nursing home attorney for the affairs of your aging parents, you will soon discover the value of that decision. An experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can save you untold amounts of stress and money, and provides an amazing amount of peace of mind. You may also discover something you did not expect…that it is never too early to draft a will of your own.

If going through this exercise with your parents has you considering putting your own affairs in order, here are some valuable tips to help you in the process.

  • Choose an appropriate executor. This person should have organizational skills, be detail oriented and should accept the responsibility willingly.
  • Select a back-up executor. A substitute executor will serve in the event you and your primary executor were to die simultaneously. This is quite possible where spouses select each other, but then don’t choose a substitute.
  • Select an experienced attorney.
  • Feel free to make specific legacies to individuals. This can make your desires clear and is a very personal and deep meaning way to recognize those you care about.
  • Keep your will secure and let family members know where it is kept.
  • Make sure your will is properly signed and legally witnessed. Your attorney can help make sure this is done correctly.

Making a will doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, but it does take the desire to follow through. Finding a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can get you started. If you have questions, concerns or would like assistance with your parents affairs or in setting up your own details, we invite you to contact us. We are experienced, caring, and will help ensure the wishes of you and your parents are fulfilled. We look forward to working with you.

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.

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!

Estate Planning To Do Check List

estate-planning-checklistDo you have elderly parents or relatives that need help with managing their money ? A MA elder lawyer can help you with wills, trusts, healthcare issues, and asset protection. An experienced elder law attorney helps you plan for the complicated issues that the elderly face with medical care, housing, and money management.

Do you need to appoint someone in the family to handle the finances ? A durable power of attorney handles the finances . when the elderly person cannot. An elder lawyer can help you choose a person if there is no one in the family to appoint and help you draw up the legal documents. A will is a complicated legal document that an elder lawyer can help you with. The elder lawyer can help draw up a document to insure family members keep certain assets in the family. He will meet with you to discuss the details and devise a sensible plan.

Some elderly clients with many assets to distribute will create trusts. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help you write up this document. A trust lets you pass on your assets to family or friends without court interference. There are many types of trusts: basic, special needs, living, irrevocable that an experience elder lawyer can help you set up. They can discuss which one is best for your family. After the person making a trust dies, an elder attorney can help your family protect and manage the trust fairly.

An MA elder law attorney can help you with health care proxies, Medicaid planning, probate, real estate, and even elder abuse. Whatever your needs an experienced elder lawyer can help you provide peace of mind to elderly relatives and friends that need assistance with complicated living and money issues.

How To Prepare Estate Planning After Having a Baby

Estate planning after having children.

After having a baby, your estate planning strategy completely changes because you need to account for some important decisions that will affect your child, both now and as he transitions into adulthood. It is important to add your child to your will right away and make several other decisions related to your child in the coming years.

First, specify in your will how your assets will be divided between your heirs, including the new baby. An estate planning lawyer can walk you through the process to ensure your wishes get carried out.

Second, get a Massachusetts estate planning attorney to add a clause to your will that specifies who will care for your child if you and the child’s other parent are both unable to. Including this in your will may seem silly if you’re healthy, but it never hurts to have it there in case something happens to you.

Third, consider setting up a living trust. This is a way to protect your assets from being tied up when you die, while still allowing you full control while you are living. A living trust attorney can walk you through the specifics of this process.

Fourth, start transferring your assets to your child if you have a large estate. Tax laws allow you to make tax-free gifts of up to $13,000 per year for each child, which adds up significantly over the child’s lifetime.

Of course, there are several other things you will need to consider as well, especially if you have a large estate or if your existing will is a complicated one. Get in touch with your Massachusetts estate planning lawyer before your baby arrives so you can discuss your plans and be ready to put them in place.

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.

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, you should 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 401(k) 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 us with any questions you might have regarding Massachusetts 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.