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Boston Elder Law Blog

Massachusetts parents may be interested in a special needs trust

Having a child with special needs can add a different element to an individual's life. Therefore, when considering end-of-life plans, Massachusetts residents may wish to consider adding additional elements to their estate plans. A special needs trust could be one potential option to consider as individuals work to create their plans.

Estate plans can play a significant role in how a special needs child is cared for in the event of one or both parents' deaths. Therefore, individuals may wish to ensure that they create a will so that their estates are distributed as they see fit. Additionally, a will can be used to name guardians for minor children, and parties may be able to petition the court to name a guardian for a special needs person over the age of 18. 

Powers of attorney can play vital role in estate plans

When planning for end-of-life arrangements, many decisions need to be addressed. Powers of attorney can play a significant role later in life, and therefore, Massachusetts residents may wish to appoint their agents as part of their estate plans. Appointing more than one agent may prove useful, as it spreads out the responsibilities as well as allows the agents to keep each other in check when it comes to decision making. 

Of course, trust is among the most important aspects when individuals make their agent decisions. Because these individuals will handle financial affairs and other personal aspects, trustworthiness and a sense of responsibility are key to having effective agents. It may also be important to remember that incapacitation could occur at any time, and trusting those agents now and in the future is vital. 

Could a Massachusetts estate need more than one probate process?

Taking advantage of estate planning can help many individuals get their affairs in order. By having certain documents and information organized, Massachusetts residents can better prepare their estates for the probate process or to avoid the process altogether. Of course, in order to fully make the necessary preparations, individuals likely need to understand what probate is. 

The probate proceedings that most individuals have a slight familiarity with is a legal process that takes place in the area where the deceased person lived or held assets. During the proceedings, the court typically validates the decedent's will and presides over the distribution of property designated in the will. However, probate could potentially be avoided if individuals utilize trusts, or accounts that hold property apart from the estate. 

Assessment may help Massachusetts residents complete wills

Deciding to move forward with creating estate plans is a beneficial first step. Massachusetts residents who create wills and other planning documents may feel more at ease when they think about future care and how their affairs will be handled after their deaths. In order to get started, individuals may wish to consider various aspects of their lives. 

Because bequeathing assets is a prominent part of estate planning, individuals may first wish to inventory their assets. By having an idea of what items will need distributing, parties may be better able to effectively ensure that necessary property is accounted for and needed beneficiaries have been named. This information may also help parties find out whether there are any questions regarding certain assets that may need to be answered by a professional. 

Estate planning may help Massachusetts residents prepare for care

Many Massachusetts residents may not be aware that making end-of-life decisions can cover numerous aspects of a person's life. Rather than simply focusing on asset distribution, individuals may wish to find out how they could utilize estate planning to make plans in the event that they need long term care. Planning for such an event could help avoid unexpected costs and complications later on.

If individuals do not have any sort of estate plan, the state may have to decide who will be in charge of making important decisions for those individuals and how assets will be distributed. Therefore, parties may wish to take steps concerning their beneficiaries. Additionally, appointing individuals to positions such as a power of attorney agent or creating a health care proxy may also be wise. 

Revocable trust, other options may be of use in Massachuestts

Asset protection is often important to many Massachusetts residents. Because they likely have worked long and hard to obtain their property, money and other assets, it is common for concerns to arise when it comes to the distribution of that property after death. Luckily, creating a revocable trust or other type of trust account could help individuals address their concerns. 

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can help protect property from going through the probate process. As a result, family members may be able to save time and money when it comes to addressing the estate, and personal affairs are kept out of the public record as trusts are private accounts. Additionally, having a trust could potentially reduce the likelihood of family squabbles over inheritances. 

Estate administration complications may hit Fernandez estate

When an individual leaves behind an estate and did not create a will, the surviving family may have many responsibilities. Often, loved ones will want to take steps to ensure that the estate administration process is handled in a manner befitting their late family member. However, without the direct wishes of the deceased being known, issues could arise. 

The estate of late professional baseball pitcher Jose Fernandez may be of interest to Massachusetts residents. The late player died last year at the age of 24 after being involved in a boating accident. Because his estate was left without a will, his mother is hoping to gain control of the $3 million estate and recently filed a motion with the court. 

Estate planning can reduce your loss to estate taxes

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of estate planning is the impact of estate taxes. Most people with sizable assets understand how critical a last will and estate plan are. Failing to create them during your healthy, younger years could result in the government seizing your estate after you die.

Far fewer people consider the very real impact of estate taxes on their last will and the loved ones they are leaving behind. For those with large estates and a history of generosity toward those who will inherit from their estate, estate taxes could consume a sizable portion of the estate they leave when they pass.

Planning for the probate process may help lessen stress

In the time following the death of a loved one, many Massachusetts residents may have many questions about the estate their loved one left behind. In the best case scenario, the deceased individual will have already created an estate plan for the benefit of surviving loved ones. Additionally, these plans may help those left behind determine whether the estate must go through the probate process

If individuals want to ensure that their surviving loved ones do not face unnecessary complications, they may want to work on their estate plans. By assessing their estates, they may be able to determine whether they would like to take steps to avoid probate or if probate proceedings may suit their cases. Though some individuals may think the process should be avoided, probate could effectively address the issues of the estate.