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Salem Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

Wills and trusts: There is a trust for each of your needs

When it is time to plan for the disposition of your estate following your death, you will have many issues to consider. Some of these include protecting your heirs from excessive taxation, reducing conflict among your heirs and providing for family members with special needs.

We know estate planning can feel overwhelming for the uninitiated, but the good news is that no matter your circumstances, there are trusts available that can work for you and your heirs. In fact, Massachusetts residents can choose from a variety of trusts to address each concern once and for all. As a means of giving our neighbors a head start on the road to estate planning, here are just a few of the trusts that many people choose.

  • Revocable or living trust: Because it is revocable, trust makers can make changes to the trust while still living.
  • Irrevocable trust: As the name implies, once this trust is legalized, it cannot be changed.
  • Special needs trust: This trust offers a way to continue providing for special needs family members without disqualifying them from government benefits.
  • Charitable trust: With this trust, you can benefit your favorite charities while also avoiding excessive taxation.
  • Pet trusts: In the eyes of the law, domestic animals are property, meaning you cannot name pets as beneficiaries in your will. Setting up a trust for your pet is an excellent alternative.

Things to know about a revocable living trust

Like many people, you may eventually turn your attention to your estate plan. While it's easy to believe that a will is all you need, this is very rarely the case. Instead, you could come to find that putting all your assets into a revocable living trust is the best decision you can make.

With this approach, you can control how your assets are handled both while you are alive and after you pass on. For this reason, it's beneficial to both you and your loved ones.

What is a health care proxy?

When creating an estate plan, it's important to consider what would happen to you in the event that you become incapacitated.

This is where a health care proxy comes into play. With this legal document, you have the right to appoint a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so on your own.

Address these estate planning questions in your 50s

As you age, it's important to stay in touch with your estate plan. What you had in place in your 30s and 40s may no longer suit you now that you are closing in on retirement age.

Here are some of the most important estate planning questions to address in your 50s:

  • Are any of your children planning on attending college in the near future?
  • Does your retirement plan fit in nicely with your estate plan?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policies?
  • Is there any reason why you may need to change your beneficiary designations (such as divorce or the death of your spouse)?
  • Do you have plans to sell your business in the near future?
  • Is now the best time to think about creating a trust?

What is a health care power of attorney? Do you need one?

When many people hear the phrase "health care power of attorney," confusion immediately sets in. People don't know what it is, if they need it,or how it could improve their estate plan.

Here's what you need to know — if you become incapacitated for any reason, such as an injury or illness, a health care power of attorney can go into effect to ensure that your medical care preferences are followed at all times.

Guardianship of a disabled person: His or her powers

A guardianship is every bit as important as it sounds. With this legal tool in place, one person has the power to make decisions for another, such as in the event of his or her incapacitation or a disability.

With a mental or physical disability in place, a person may be unable to make key decisions in his or her life. This is where guardianship comes into play.

Is a trust right for you? Answer these questions

At some point, you may come to realize that your estate plan requires your attention. This often comes into play if you have reason to believe that a trust could benefit you and your family now and in the future.

The question of whether or not a trust is the right estate planning solution is never simple to answer. However, there are some questions you can mull over to make your life easier:

  • What is the value of your estate at the present time?
  • Do you have concerns about the future well being of a loved one with a disability?
  • Do you have concerns that your heirs could argue over your assets upon your death?
  • Do you have at least one life insurance policy?
  • Are you going to leave some or all of your estate to charity?
  • Do you want the majority of your assets to end up with your grandchildren upon your death?

What to know about a durable financial power of attorney

As you create an estate plan, it's only natural to spend most your time on your will or trust. This goes a long way in ensuring that the right people receive your assets upon your death.

While it is important to focus your time and attention on these details, here's something you need to remember: There are other estate planning documents that are every bit as important.

What are you doing to avoid these estate planning mistakes?

hen it comes to estate planning, you can never be too cautious. It's imperative that you understand the finer details of your situation, including the steps you can take today to improve your family's life in the future.

There are many estate planning mistakes lurking. If you don't avoid these, you could find yourself in a difficult spot at some point.

Massachusetts court rules against Yahoo

When a person passes on, they often leave a lot behind. While many details may be taken care of in an estate plan, others could slip through the cracks. This is even more so the case in today's day and age, with technology becoming such a big part of everyone's life.

Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against the internet giant Yahoo. The court came to the conclusion that federal law does not prevent the company from providing representatives of a dead man's estate with the password to his email account.

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71 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-224-8893
Toll Free: 800-785-3588
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