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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.

Though a will is a useful planning tool, in this case, the lack of other measures resulted in Hoffman's estate having about $12 million in estate taxes leveled against it. Additionally, the estate will also have to go through probate proceedings, which will likely result in additional costs and fees being taken from the estate. Furthermore, due to the size of the estate, the legal process may take a considerable amount of time to complete.

While many Massachusetts residents may benefit from creating wills, they may wish to take the time to explore other planning options as well. Trusts or other tools could work in tandem with a last will and testament in order to bolster a person's estate plan. Parties with considerable assets may wish to discuss their planning options with experienced legal counsel to determine the best manner in which to protect their estates.

Source: kiplinger.com, "Philip Seymour Hoffman's $12 Million Estate Planning Mistake", John M. Goralka, July 21, 2017

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