Estate Planning & Elder Law
According to Forbes, more than half of all Americans do not have the most basic estate planning documents. Reasons for putting off such simple planning can be its seen as a chore, it’s not necessary, “… my estate is too small…” and “…I don’t need to.”
Estate planning is just as important for the here and now as it is for the later. Should you become incapacitated (temporarily or permanently) unexpectedly, it can be some of the most difficult times for your loved ones. A proper Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney will allow for quick action and avoid delays, while you are still able to make important decisions for your loved ones.
Your Last Will and Testament can save unnecessary probate costs and protect you and your family’s privacy.
Call us today so that we can ensure you are best protected today, not just tomorrow. Still have questions? Contact us today for advice or to schedule an appointment.
Ensure your estate is protected
Durable Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney is a document that allows an Agent to act for you. With most, the powers become effective immediately upon execution. But there are alternatives; requiring a doctor’s certificate before the agent can act. The powers here are quite broad. Generally, the agent has powers to lease, sell or transfer real estate, file income tax returns, and borrow or mortgage money on your behalf. In addition, your agent can exercise any rights under any policies or contracts that you have entered. Your agent can be sued or can sue on your behalf. Your agent may also make gifts to others on your behalf. Because of this power, the Agent has certain obligations; which apply to making changes to or transferring assets with your wishes in your Last Will and Testament being maintained and a consideration. Come in today and plan your life’s important financial situations, and those whom you want these decisions entrusted to, today!
Health Care Proxy
There are many variations to the Health Care Proxy. They become effective when the powers are invoked by your doctor when unfortunate circumstances render you unable to communicate your health care decisions. It can include a living will, allowing you to die with dignity; a very important clause if you do not want to be kept alive on life support machines. These documents are not legal in Massachusetts but provide a guidance for your agents and family. A Health Care Proxy can contain privacy release statements for children, brothers and sisters, etc. Also, due to recent changes in the Massachusetts laws, the agent in your health care proxy (and/or power of attorney) should have the authority to sign you in or to discharge you from a nursing home, rehab, or other medical facility. If your agent does not have this authority, it may be necessary for your agent to obtain a guardianship through the probate court. Come in today and let’s plan your life’s important health care decisions together.
MassHealth & Medicaid
The cost of a nursing home often goes overlooked to those that are not in need. However, some of the more expensive facilities can cost between $12,000 to $14,000 a month. MassHealth or Medicaid will pay for any long term care in these facilities but there is a sacrifice that is important to be aware of and to plan for. In Massachusetts, help can come from the form of MassHealth. However the process is very nuanced, involves a look back period of 60 months, and is subject to continuous changes. Whether you need help applying or appealing an eligibility decision, our law office can help!
The homestead protects the equity in your home up to $500,000. The homestead protects your home from the claims of most creditors but does not protect your home from the IRS, Department of Revenue or if you go into a nursing home.
Due to both scientific and medical advances, society has been presented with a variety of Bioethical issues. Some of these advances have provided physicians with enhanced control over the time and death of their patient. A living will is not legal in Massachusetts, but this document addresses some of these many challenges that are posed in making end of life decisions when you, or your health care agent, are unable.
Also known as your Last Will and Testament, this document is important to control who will receive your property and which property they will receive, and who will be in charge of not only gathering those assets but distributing them as well.
People often use trusts to preserve their estate for their family. The two more common types of trusts are revocable and irrevocable trusts.
(a) Revocable Trusts
(b) Irrevocable Trusts
Other trusts are testamentary trusts – these are often found in your will. The assets that you have will pass through probate and into your will.
(c) Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
(d) Charitable Remainder Trusts