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. It is often said that if you don’t have an estate plan, the Commonwealth has one for you. And as of January 2nd, 2012, the Commonwealth has an updated plan for you! That’s when the last phase of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) takes effect. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
There are several websites that offer customized, do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning documents. These computer-based services appear to offer the consumer a cost-effective and convenient alternative to visiting an Estate Planning or Elder Law attorney. Or do they? Is online estate planning worth the convenience and initial savings? How do the documents created compare to those that a qualified attorney would produce? [Read more…]
It’s estimated that two-thirds of American households currently have at least one pet, a number that has steadily increased in the last 60 years. With more pets comes a growing industry devoted to helping Americans better care for, and even indulge, their pets, has developed. Businesses that provide pet day care, pet sitters, grooming, spa services, and even pet cemeteries have become common.
Many even consider pets part of their family, a sort of child, brother, sister, or at the very least, friend. Since so much love and attention is given to these fury and feathery companions, many wish to provide for their animals in the event that they become incapacitated or die before their pet. With family greed, skepticism, and fraud on the rise, many seek a better solution than hoping Junior will “do the right thing.” As a matter of fact, owner death and/or disability is one of the top reasons that animals end up in Shelters across the country. [Read more…]
Resolutions abound as the New Year quickly approaches. Each year we make a pact with ourselves to make lifestyle changes for the better. Whether it is to exercise more, skip the daily fast-food lunch breaks, or give up bad reality television, the intentions are always good, though often we do not follow through. How many times have we seen the new year rush at the local gym, but notice the crowds slowly dwindle come the beginning of February? [Read more…]
The media has been covering Michael Jackson’s death quite extensively and many regularly scheduled programs will not air tomorrow as his memorial service is broadcast live around the world. News outlets are digging, trying to answer many questions surrounding his untimely passing, including estate and guardianship issues involving his children. However distasteful, it isn’t surprising that Michael Jackson’s Will was made available for anyone to see online within hours of it being filed with a Los Angeles Probate Court. [Read more…]