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Salem Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

Challenging a will is both tough and emotional

You develop your estate plan to try to make sure all runs smoothly after you pass away.

It doesn't always happen that way. Your heirs could take exception to your bequests, upset that you didn't leave them what they think they deserve. A challenge could ensue.

Why you need a health care proxy and how to pick your agent

A health care proxy is a legal document that allows you to choose an alternate decision maker for your health care in case you become unable to make your own medical decisions. Regardless of where you live in the country, having a health care proxy keeps you in control of your medical decisions by making your wishes known to the doctors through your alternate decision maker, called a health care agent. It is especially important in Massachusetts to have this set up because medical instructions left in a living will may not be legally recognized.

Both a health care proxy and power of attorney are common estate planning documents that appoint another to make decisions if you become unable to make your own decisions. However, a health care proxy is different from power of attorney because it only affects medical decisions, whereas a power of attorney affects financial decisions. Because these documents appoint agents to represent you in different ways, it is often a good idea to establish a health care proxy, even if you already have a power of attorney.

Trusts funds aren't just for Massachusetts' elite

We hear the term "trust fund baby" and think of children who attend boarding schools, go on to Ivy League colleges and summer in the Hamptons or Europe in between.

That is far from true. You don't have to be among the elite in Massachusetts to start a trust fund for your heirs.

Caring for a Massachusetts relative through guardianship

There might come a time when Mom and Dad, or maybe your best friend, just can't care for themselves and you need to take care of them. Legally, that is.

It's called guardianship, otherwise known as elderly conservatorship, and it happens when a court appoints someone to oversee the affairs of older Massachusetts residents who no longer can do it on their own. This typically is someone who can't remember to take the prescription medications, handle their finances or follow a hygiene regimen.

How to pay for long-term care without liquidating all your assets

If you have created estate plans, you may feel like you are ahead of the game. Planning how your affairs are managed after you are gone is important, but you also need to think about what may happen as you age. According to the AARP, after people turn 65, there is a 50-50 chance they will require long-term care. Paying for long-term care is not inexpensive. The average cost of long-term care in the U.S. is $85,800 a year, but in some states, the costs are much higher.

Massachusetts has some of the highest costs in the country. A private room in a care facility costs on average $153,500 a year. A solid estate plan should include plans to pay for these significant costs, or you may end up spending most of your assets on long-term care costs.

Check your estate plan immediately if your spouse has passed

Couples make their estate plans together, typically. And they leave their belongings to each other, then to their children as secondary beneficiaries, in most instances.

It's a smart plan – if you die together in an accident or such. But, most likely, you will die at separate times.

Estate tax laws in Massachusetts

Many states in the country do not collect an estate tax. However, Massachusetts is one of the few states that does. Estate tax laws can seem confusing at first glance, especially if you are new to estate planning. If you are starting to plan your estate in Massachusetts, it is a good idea to start by speaking with an estate planning attorney.

Your attorney will stay up-to-date on the local laws when it comes to collecting estate taxes since these laws are often subject to frequent change. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding estate taxes in Massachusetts.

Understanding the different types of wills

When planning your estate, it is likely that you will have read about the different types of trusts. But the differing types of wills are less frequently discussed and explored.

If you are looking into the different options for your estate plan, it is a good idea to read more about the wide range of wills that are possible.

Questions about probate after a loved one dies

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an extremely difficult process. It is important that you allow yourself the time to grieve before undertaking the often-hefty task of administrating the estate. You may also want to ask friends and family to help you with the process.

Many people easily become overwhelmed by the task of estate administration. However, it does not need to be difficult. The best way to approach the task is with a good understanding of the timeline. You should also make sure to be organized and plan ahead.

Common questions about the benefits of trust funds

Many people choose to create trust funds for the benefit of their loved ones. Trust funds have a great number of benefits, and they are not only for the extremely wealthy. If you are starting to plan your estate in the state of Massachusetts, it may be worthwhile for you to take the time to understand more about their benefits.

Trust funds are like other forms of trusts in the sense that they act as a separate legal entity in order to hold property. They are created primarily for the benefit of another person.

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Casey & Lundregan, P.C.
71 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-224-8893
Toll Free: 800-785-3588
Fax: 978-745-3607
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