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Salem Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

How are federal estate taxes calculated?

If you've lost a loved ones for whom you were the executor of their estate, then you might be familiar with the federal government's estate tax. It's supposed to be paid when a decedent's assets get transferred to his or her heirs postmortem.

One of the first steps that must be taken to calculate the tax owed is for the executor of the estate to sum up the fair market values for the entirety of the decedent's assets as of the day he or she died. If that's not possible, then an executor of an estate can defer the valuing of assets to a different date.

What happens when you don’t make a will

As the years pass by, it is common to start thinking about making a will. Making a will is something that many people do not look forward to doing, and often people are overwhelmed by the several options they have, and become confused by the legal jargon.

However, creating a will as early as possible is very important in securing your assets and making your wishes known. It will mean that the entire process of transferring your assets to your loved ones will be simpler, more economically efficient and not open to interpretation.

Understanding how to plan medical directions in your will

Creating wills and trusts are things that everyone comes to think of as they get older. Everyone wants to make sure that the wealth they acquire during their lifetime creates a legacy for future generations. In addition to planning wealth, wills can also serve other purposes, including stating your wishes of what medical treatment you would like to receive in the event of you becoming incapacitated.

If you have a health condition or if you simply want to have a say on what medical treatment you would like to receive if you become very ill, a living will may offer a way for you to do this. A living will is simply a written document that outlines the type of treatment you would like to receive in a medical emergency. This might specify whether you would like to have resuscitation, and what specific types of treatment you do not want to receive. However, when writing a living will, you may realize that it is near impossible to account for every possibility. This is why some people opt to appoint a durable power of attorney in addition.

A durable financial power of attorney is a good idea

Have you given any thought to who will manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated? While it's easy to believe this will never happen to you, it's best to plan for anything and everything that could go wrong in the future.

There is a lot to consider when creating a durable financial power of attorney, with one of the most important details being the person you grant legal authority. He or she is known as your agent, and may be faced with a variety of tasks and responsibilities in the future.

Most common reasons why people plan their estate

We've all heard it before; estate planning is an important part of life. In fact, it is one of the most important things you will ever do. When you plan your estate, you are securing your future and the future of your dependents. You are ensuring that all of your assets and property go exactly where you want them to go at the time of your death. You are also protecting your own rights should you no longer be able to care for yourself mentally, physically and financially.

As mentioned above, a big reason why people plan their estate is to ensure the protection of their assets. This is done to protect against spend down, which happens when going through Medicaid to qualify for assisted living or other nursing home facility. An estate plan might also involve an insurance policy known as an umbrella, which helps protect you when you pass other policy limits.

How to ease retirement stress about health and money

If you are approaching the retirement age, or are already thinking well into the future, then this post will surely strike you as important. Whatever your age, it's important to plan for retirement. It will creep up on you quicker than you'd like in Salem, Massachusetts. Plans will change throughout your life as you enjoy different milestones, so be sure to look at the tips outlined in today's post and see how they relate to your life.

One of the best ways to reduce your stress about money when it comes to retirement is to change your spending habits. Put together an analysis of your cash flow. Figure out all of your expenses and how much income you have each month. You might need to cut down on some of those expenses when you finally retire in order to have enough cash flow each month for emergencies and other discretionary spending.

Issues that can derail your estate plans in Massachusetts

Putting together an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do in life. You don't have to be married or have children to plan out your estate. As soon as you exit school and enter the working world you should begin to plan your estate. Life can happen without warning and you don't want your assets and property to fall into the wrong hands. Here are some issues that can derail your estate plans in Massachusetts.

A common problem is running into issues with your beneficiaries. You might have an adult child who is headed for divorce. You likely don't want some of your assets getting into the hands of that child's soon-to-be former spouse upon your death. You will need to revise your estate documents to include specific language preventing this possibility.

Becoming a legal guardian to an incapacitated person

When a person is disabled or has been diagnosed with an illness which means they will be eventually unable to make their own decisions, they often think about the need for a guardianship. A guardianship involves a person appointing another adult that can make legal and important decisions on their behalf when they are unable to.

People often assigned guardianship because they recognize that at some point, when their illness or disability progresses, they will not have the mental competence to make legal decisions such as the management of real estate.

Is it wise to leave children unequal inheritances?

Your daughter runs her own company and brings home over $1 million per year. That's not even counting all of the value in her company itself. If she chose to sell, she would be set for life.

Your son, on the other hand, desperately wants to make it as a painter. He loves art for art's sake. While he would like to make money, it's not his main focus. He tends to sell one or two pieces every year. The most he has ever made in a year is about $40,000 -- less than half of what his sister tends to make in a month.

Money mistakes you must avoid when getting divorced

When you realize that it's time to put an end to your marriage, you need to get all of your ducks in a row before making a move. Find all of your important documents, figure out your financial situation and consult with your divorce attorney. Once you are ready to file for divorce in Massachusetts, you need to ensure that you do not make any of the money mistakes discussed in today's post.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is avoiding the change in your financial future that occurs with divorce. You are going from likely two incomes down to one. You will need to create a strong budget and then stick to it in order to live on your own.

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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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