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Worcester Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Blog

Do I need to name an executor in my will?

Have you ever wondered who will manage your estate and the probate process after you die? If you have close family members, such as a spouse or children, the answer may seem obvious. There are many people, however, who may not be so sure. In such a case, failing to name an executor may place the estate in the hands of someone whom you wouldn't have chosen yourself.

Even for those with family members they are sure will be willing to serve as an executor, it can be helpful to name someone legally in the will. For example, you may ultimately survive your spouse. In that case, the role would fall to your children. Unfortunately, if one child is not explicitly named, it may cause a problem when they try to pick who will become the executor. That's why it's always the safest choice to legally list someone in your will as the person who will handle your estate.

Funding a special needs trust for your child

Taking care of your special needs child is one of the most important parts of your life. While your child may rely on Medicaid or other government programs to take care of basic expenses, you chip in for any extra expenses needed. But how do you fund your child’s extra needs after you pass away?

A special needs trust is an important part of estate planning. Giving an inheritance directly to your child could cause a loss of government benefits. By creating a trust, you make sure your child has money for extra care while still qualifying for government aid.

3 critical decisions when drafting your will

Too many families in Massachusetts and across the country do not have wills. A recent study says nearly half of those surveyed are without any estate plan and women are more likely not to have a will in place. Many reasons are given, including a reluctance to think about death or they believe wills are only for the rich.

However, having a will in place is one of the most important and loving decisions you can make for your family. Having an estate plan is more than dividing up your assets when you die, it can also tell a court who you want to raise your kids as well as making sure your belongings go to the people or organizations of your choice.

What duties am I responsible for as a personal representative?

If you are the personal representative of a loved one’s estate, you were either named as such in your loved one’s will or appointed by a court. Serving as a personal representative, sometimes called an executor, can be an honor. However, it is also a serious responsibility.

As a personal representative, you are responsible for managing your loved one’s final affairs. This can involve numerous steps, each with its own legal complexities.

When you may want to consider a trust rather than a will

There is no single correct way to organize your estate plan. You might employ a number of different potential strategies, each with advantages and disadvantages. That includes the use of a will. While a will has many benefits, there are scenarios in which you might want to consider using a trust instead.

Trusts, while they can be more legally complex, do offer some additional flexibility under certain circumstances. With that in mind, here are a few instances in which utilizing a trust, rather than a will, might be effective.

What to know when considering an advanced health care directive

Planning for the future can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t know what lies ahead. An advanced health care directive allows you to remain in control over what happens to you in the event of incapacitation.

Two common types of advanced directives are health care directives/proxies and living wills.

Is falling inevitable as your parents age?

As an adult child of aging parents, you likely have many things you want to help your parents consider while planning for the future. Pre-determining how they want to meet their medical needs may require a great deal of thought, conversation and documentation.

Unfortunately, no matter how much planning you do, your parents could fall and suffer injuries. Even if they live in a well-staffed nursing home, you may want to do all you can to decrease your parents’ chances of falling.

Creating a will means embracing choice

A person is often unable to make many choices about his or her own death. However, you can make choices about what you want to happen after your death. One way to embrace those choices is by creating a last will and testament.

There are many benefits to creating a will, such as speeding up the probate process, minimizing estate taxes and preventing family infighting. However, some of the most valuable benefits involve your ability to make choices about what happens after your death.

Elder Law vs. Estate Planning

Many people have difficulty describing the difference between what a traditional estate planning attorney offers his or her clients versus what an elder law attorney offers his or her clients.

The easy answer is that an estate planning attorney addresses the common issue of what happens to one's assets at death.  In a traditional estate planning setting, much emphasis is placed on minimizing estate taxes, as well as insuring the most efficient and least restrictive means of transferring wealth to others.

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