Estate Planning

Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts)

will5While it is common for people to wait before “putting their house in order”, it is not uncommon for people to wait until it is too late. It is a simple fact that if you have not created an estate plan by the time of your death, state law will determine how and to whom assets are distributed. At the very least a common sense estate plan includes a Last Will and Testament (directing that your choice of the distribution of assets is implemented), a Durable Power of Attorney (affording a person you trust to handle your affairs in the event of an incapacitation) and Health Care Proxy documents (choosing the trusted individual to make important medical decisions on your behalf in the event you cannot).

There are, however, many different circumstances that impact the decision making process involved to craft a personalized estate plan. Estate tax implications (the Federal threshold exemption amount is currently [2015] $5.43 million dollars however the Massachusetts threshold exemption amount is currently [2015] only $1.0 million dollars) will impact planning. Additionally, the prospect of Medicaid liens (if nursing home or assisted living care becomes a reality) is another concern. A special needs or disabled family member may benefit from a special needs or a disability trust. Various trusts and asset distribution (or transfer) techniques are available to assist in the minimization of estate tax and asset exposure. However every circumstance is different so call today for a consultation to help determine how to most effectively attain your estate planning goals.

Last Will and Testament – Your Last Will and Testament can effectively accomplish your desired asset distribution. Depending on your financial circumstances a Trust vehicle may be more effective or, as is often the case, your Last Will and Testament may devise your assets to a Trust to maximize the estate tax exemptions available and provide for your surviving spouse as well as your children (and grandchildren).

Trusts – Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Testamentary Trusts, Special Needs Trusts -There are many varieties of Trusts. It is a person’s individual circumstances (and desires) that will help determine which, if any, Trust(s) suit your needs. If your circumstances warrant, a Trust drafted by our office may be a most effective and appropriate vehicle for your estate.

Durable Power of Attorney – Preparing your estate adequately for the challenges that life can present should include the preparation of a durable power of attorney. At a time of crisis it provides an element of transition that can help life continue without unnecessary interruption.

Living Wills, Health Care Proxies – A Living Will (which provides medical treatment direction in the event of an incapacitating illness) is a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care you would want should you lose the ability to make and communicate your own decisions. We will draft your Living Will (allowing you to choose a dignified death) and your Health Care Proxy documents (choosing the individual who you trust to abide by your medical decisions). These important health care documents provide the authorization necessary to allow your loved ones to make medical decisions (as you directed) in the event of your incapacitation.
Call today to schedule an appointment so that a personalized estate plan can be crafted to achieve your wishes.