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Estate Planning

Did you know that as many as 70% of adults die without a will, causing longer and more complex court process for loved ones?

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We understand death is difficult a difficult topic, but avoiding planning for it won’t make it any easier.  We are here to help you plan for a secure future as you face issues of aging and disability, including issues such as:

      • retirement planning
      • health care proxies
      • asset protection
      • probate and trust administration
      • long term care
      • elder and special needs planning
      • medicaid
      • Social Security
      • Veteran’s Benefits
    •  

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      It is important to handle these questions before someone passes away, and we can help.   Planning ahead can not only make your loved ones lives and future decisions easier, but can ensure that what remains when you are gone is distributed according to your wishes, not according to the courts.  Not only can we advise you on the legal implications, but a licensed insurance and annuities salesman is on site to help answer any investment questions.

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      General Questions

      (Q) My father just passed away. What does it mean to probate the estate?

      (A) An estate is everything owned by a deceased individual. Probate is the court procedure by which:

  • If there is a will
    • The will is proved to be valid or invalid.
    • The property covered by the will is shown to be the decedents.
  • If there is no will
    • it is determined how the property is to be distributed, in accordance with the inheritance laws of the state where the decedent lived.
  • In addition
    • Unpaid creditors of the decedent are given the opportunity to file claims against the estate.
    • Fees for administration of the estate are approved and paid.
    • The probate assets of the estate are distributed.
      • (Q) How did the Health Care Proxy Law come about?
        (a)  In 1986, The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts first recognized the right to decline extraordinary treatment to sustain life.  This landmark case eventually led to the adoption of the Health Care Proxy Law in 1990.  See M.G. L. c. 201D for the complete text of the law.
        (Q) What’s the difference between this and a “living will?
        (a)  Documents and forms used for legal matters vary from state to state.  However, in Massachusetts, the living will is the health care proxy.
        (Q)  Where can I obtain a health care proxy form?
        (a)  The Registry of Probate has forms and instructions available.  So do most doctors’ offices and hospitals.  Most offer the forms for free, including our offices.  Contact us today for more details.
        (Q)  Do I need to hire an attorney to help me fill out the form?
        (a) There is no requirement to do so, however many people feel it is a good idea.  The health care proxy form is pretty straightforward, and is easy to complete.  You simply need two people to act as witnesses as you name your proxy and sign the form.  Contact our offices today with any questions or concerns.
        (Q) Exactly what power and authority am I giving my proxy?
        (a)  The law allows the person you name to make decisions about your health care if you are ever incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself.  This only happens when a doctor declares, in writing, that you lack the ability to make or communicate sound medical decisions.
        (Q)  Do I need to file the form with the court?
        (a)  No.  You keep the original in a safe place, while a copy is provided to your agent.  Copies should also be distributed to whomever you trust and who would be concerned about your medical care, such as your doctor, attorney, clergy, and members of your family.

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