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Boston Elder Law Blog

Massachusetts residents may consider revocable trust options

The idea of estate planning may have some Massachusetts residents feeling wary, but other individuals may be excited about the prospect. By creating a plan, parties can decide who should receive which assets and ensure that their other wishes are also known. Of course, individuals have various planning options to consider, and one tool that may seem appealing is a revocable trust.

With a revocable trust, individuals can maintain a sense of privacy while also bequeathing assets to their loved ones. Though a will can be used in a similar manner, this document goes into the public record. This means that anyone who wishes can view the contents of the will. On the other hand, with a trust, the document can only be viewed by parties given specific access.

Need for guardianships may befall some Massachusetts residents

Many Massachusetts residents likely pride themselves on being independent and making their own decisions for their lives. While this ability is often cherished, it is not always one that individuals are able to maintain for the entirety of their lives. In many cases, elderly individuals or other adults become incapacitated, and guardianships become needed in order for decisions to be made.

Elderly parties who develop dementia or other mental incapacities may often first come to mind when thinking of adult guardianship. However, any individual over the age of 18 who cannot make sound decisions for him or herself may need a guardian. Intellectual or developmental disabilities can present such a need as well as mental illnesses or incapacitating accidents. 

Top reasons you should create a trust

Many people think that once they create a will, they have done everything they need in order to ensure their legacy passes on according to their wishes. Unfortunately, a will may not protect your final wishes as much as you would like. In order to protect the wealth you have built for the next generation, it is time to consider creating a trust.

When you are working on creating a solid estate plan, it is important to remember that a trust can be one of the most powerful tools available. While a will may divide your estate into percentages for your beneficiaries, a trust provides very specific instructions to distribute a portion of your wealth to them. It can go so far as to dictate the timing and frequency of distributions to each person you name in the trust. Read further to find out more about the benefits of creating a trust in Massachusetts.

Health care planning may concern the wealthy in Massachusetts

Getting to retirement age is often a time that many older individuals look forward to. However, some parties may feel concerned when it comes to the amount of money in their retirement accounts and other savings and what may happen if they face health-related concerns. In fact, even parties with a considerable amount of money saved for retirement feel insecure about their health care planning and the ability to meet their health-related needs.

Massachusetts residents may be interested to know that 73 percent of wealthy retirement-age individuals indicated that suffering ill health was their biggest fear in relation to retirement. This insecurity is understandable as health care costs continue to increase. Parties may expect to spend approximately $400,000 to attend to their health during retirement, which does not include long-term care needs.

Using only wills may not benefit sizable Massachusetts estates

When Massachusetts residents have sizable estates, they may have concerns when it comes to carrying out estate planning and end-of-life wishes. Some parties may think that creating wills can allow them to execute good-enough plans that address their desires when it comes to having their surviving loved ones handle the estate. However, some individuals may want to utilize additional planning tools.

The estate of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman may be of interest to some parties. Though the actor died three years ago, his $35 million estate still has some issues to address. Rather than utilize trusts or other protective measures to handle his substantial assets, Hoffman used only a will to leave his sizable estate to his girlfriend and their three children.

Lack of info may make Massachusetts probate process more complex

Because most individuals do not give much thought to certain legal proceedings unless they find themselves involved in a related matter, it is fairly common for many people to not understand those processes. However, a lack of information could prove damaging when the time comes to address those legal matters. The probate process is one in particular that many Massachusetts residents may need to know more about.

If a loved one created a will before his or her death, that document would need to go through probate. This process allows surviving family to understand the decedent's wishes and close the estate as needed. Many people find comfort in knowing what their family members wanted when it came to distributing assets and handling other estate matters as such decisions without guidance can be difficult.

Carrie Fisher's estate administration hits snag with trust issue

The handling of an estate can be a very delicate business, especially when grief over a loved one's death is still fresh. In many cases, having a detailed estate plan can help the estate administration process move forward more smoothly in Massachusetts. Of course, if no plan exists or if the plan was not updated as needed, the administration proceedings may hit some snags.

There is potential for the estate of late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher to face some possible issues. Apparently, Fisher's plan involved a living trust, which she used to manage her assets. However, some of her property had not been moved to the trust at the time of her death. As a result, those assets may need to go through the probate process.

4 benefits of an irrevocable trust

You're deciding how to leave your estate to your heirs, and you've heard about an irrevocable trust, but you haven't really looked into it. You're curious about the advantages, disadvantages, and legal steps you'll need to take.

This is a great place to start. Far too many people don't spend nearly enough time researching all of their estate planning options. You don't just have to write out a will or leave all of your money to your kids or hope your heirs can figure it out on their own. You have tons of options, and it's absolutely worth considering all of them to find out which ones are best for you.

Waiting too long to create wills could have negative impacts

Procrastination is an issue with which many Massachusetts residents struggle. The idea of putting off a task until a later time often seems appealing, but of course, serious issues could come about in certain situations if the task gets put off for too long. For instance, if individuals do not create their wills or address other estate planning needs soon enough, complications could arise.

Many people think that they should wait until they retire in order to create their estate plan. They may think that by this point in their lives they will have a solid idea of what goes into their estates and how they want to distribute assets and handle other related tasks. However, waiting this long could potentially result in a person's mental health being called into question.

Have questions about asset protection and estate planning?

Knowing the best ways to plan end-of-life wishes can prove difficult. For individuals who do not fully understand the estate planning process, the idea of making a plan may not go much further than simply writing down which loved ones they want to receive what property. However, an estate plan can -- and probably should -- go well beyond that, and Massachusetts residents may be interested in asset protection and wills.

Some parties may not even know that they have options that could help them protect assets and preserve wealth for their surviving family in the wake of their deaths. This lack of knowledge is not unusual, and many parties have little information beyond a quick internet search. However, people may fare better to discuss their concerns with legal professionals.