Common Questions That Are Asked About Estate Planning

Estate planning can be extremely difficult, despite how essential it may be. We at Casey & Lundregan, P.C., know that there are lot of questions that can arise along the way. We have been serving the Salem community for over three generations, and we want to help answer some of the more common questions with this FAQ:

Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?

Having an estate plan is not just for those who are extremely wealthy, as anyone can benefit from a proper estate plan. With good planning, you can protect your loved ones by ensuring they receive exactly what you want them to from your property. You can also make sure your wishes are still respected if you become unable to act on your own behalf. Assigning a power of attorney that can oversee your estate if you become incapacitated can make things a lot simpler for everyone.

Why Is It Important To Have A Trust?

Putting together a trust is an excellent way to relief stress from your loved ones after your passing. A trust can help protect your assets from being frozen, avoid a lengthy probate process, save in estate taxes and aid in helping to transfer assets to beneficiaries in a timely manner.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

Proving a will through probate can be a very difficult and confusing process. Thankfully, there are ways that you can avoid probate. By creating a trust, adding a loved one to the deed and naming beneficiaries on your financial accounts, you can often fast-track your dispersal of the related funds and avoid the probate process altogether.

How Can I Avoid Estate Taxes?

Estate taxes can put a serious dent into the money you expect your beneficiaries to receive. To keep the government's hands off your money, you can take actions to get around them. Since there are no taxes on an irrevocable life insurance trust, you can set one up to avoid taxes on that money. You can also give gifts or make charitable donations up to a certain amount tax-free. In Massachusetts, the state does not tax gifts at all.

Additionally, married couples can gain access to a marital deduction trust which doubles their estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million. By working with an experienced attorney who understands these trusts, you may be able to save thousands of dollars in taxes through this trust alone.

What Is A Revocable Living Trust?

A revocable living trust is a trust that helps you organize your estate and keep your wishes as a priority if you become too sick or disabled to act on your own behalf. You also have the ability to update these documents at will.

What Happens If I Do Not Have A Will When I Die?

In Massachusetts, if you do not have a will at the time of your death, the state distributes your estate through intestacy law, which takes priority if there is no legal document deciding how your estate pays out. It is most likely that your next of kin will be the one who inherits your property. If you want your next of kin to be the beneficiary, having a will ensures that your beneficiary receives their benefits in a timely manner, with little interference from others as well.

Who Can Contest A Will?

If you feel as though a will is not fulfilling the wishes of the deceased, there are certain circumstances that constitute challenging it. If you meet these circumstances, you also need to qualify by being a person that can contest the will. In Massachusetts, if you are an "interested party," someone who has a financial interest in the outcome of the deceased's estate, you are eligible to contest a will.

How Can I Successfully Manage My Estate Planning?

No matter what task you are trying to complete with your estate, the best thing you can do is to get a lawyer who has experience in estate planning. With proper knowledge, you can thoroughly manage all aspects of your estate. If you are planning your estate, do not do it alone. Contact us at 978-224-8893 or toll-free at 800-785-3588 for a free consultation.