Dying without a Will is called dying “intestate.” What this means is that your intentions as to who inherits your assets, who administers your estate, and who acts as guardians for any young children are determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Rising Costs of Dementia Care
If you have a family member who is suffering from some form of dementia, you know how financially difficult providing quality care can be. According to a study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, the financial burden on the nation as a whole is staggering, with the costs now exceeding those of both heart disease and cancer. [Read more…]
Whitney Houston’s Estate Plan: Good, But Not Great
Whitney Houston’s tragic death provides an example of how a trust that takes effect upon death can work as part of an estate plan. But Houston’s estate plan has some surprising aspects as well; there were pieces of her plan that could have, and likely should have, been better.
The late singer’s will leaves everything to her 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, but Kristina can’t access her mother’s estimated $20 million fortune right away because it is in a trust. [Read more…]
Why Single People in Worcester County Should Consider Estate Planning
When we typically think of estate planning, we see grandma and grandpa putting together a Will and possibly setting up some trusts for the following generations. It’s all about providing for our offspring, right? [Read more…]
How Do I Bring Up the Topic of Estate Planning to My Parents?
In Worcester, just as everywhere else in the nation, there is a tendency for people to put off estate planning. Elder law attorneys, like Kristina Vickstrom, recognize that there are multiple factors that lead people to procrastinate when it comes to the estate planning process. [Read more…]
Protecting the Family Cottage from a Medicaid (MassHealth) Spend Down Through an Irrevocable Trust
An irrevocable trust is an excellent tool when preplanning for Medicaid benefits. Anything that is put into the irrevocable trust is protected from a Medicaid spend-down if five years pass from the date of the transfer. [Read more…]
Can I Contest My Sister’s Will?
In the coming years we will see a marked increase in the number of cases challenging the legality of a will on the grounds of mental incapacitation of the person making the will. Though the reason for the increase in will contests is debatable, the growing number of elders with medical issues affecting their cognition; the transfer of wealth between World War II and baby boomer generations; and the change in the traditional nuclear family certainly play a role. [Read more…]
Pet Trusts Arrive in Massachusetts
I’ve written about Pet Trusts in a previous blog. They have many benefits for pet owners concerned about what would happen should their animal outlive them. However, until recently, Pet Trusts were not available in Massachusetts. New Massachusetts legislation took effect on April 7th, 2011, bringing this important Estate Planning tool to the Bay State. The remainder of this week’s blog was edited from an article written by Attorney Gina Barry of Bacon Wilson, P.C. in Springfield. [Read more…]
Online Legal Documents Company (LegalZoom) Sued Over Flawed Estate Plan
This week I’m reposting a fantastic article from ElderLawAnswers about the dangers of online do-it-yourselfing when it comes to planning your estate. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware!)
One of the most prominent sellers of do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning documents, is the target of a class action lawsuit in California charging that the company engages in deceptive business practices and is practicing law without a license.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 27, 2010, by Katherine Webster, who is the niece of the late Anthony J. Ferrantino and the executor of Mr. Ferrantino’s estate. [Read more…]
Estate Planning Myths Explained
Occasionally, I run across a great article written by someone else. Today is one of those days and I just had to share it with you. Clients are often confused when they come in for initial consultations and have preconceived notions about planning their estates based on things that they’ve heard from their friends, neighbors, hairdresser, etc. Most of the time the information shared is incorrect, or at least incorrectly applied to their situation. This article does a great job of debunking the most popular “myths” of estate planning. I only added one little thought in bold below. Thank you to my colleague, Attorney Gina Barry, from Bacon & Wilson in Springfield for putting this article together…. and as far as I know unicorns are still mythical creatures. [Read more…]