Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light,” is best known for his works of beautiful cottages, villages and churches – paintings of idyllic country life. In April of this year Kinkade died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and valium. The Kinkade estate battle that has transpired since then has not been beautiful country life. [Read more…]
Back-to-School Emergency Plan: Four Things You Need To Do Now as Part of Your Estate Plan
Contrary to popular belief, your school Emergency Contact Form will not keep your children from spending time in the hands of social services if something bad happens to you. The emergency form only gives named contacts permission to pick your child up if they are sick, not to take short-term custody of your children if one or both parents die or are incapacitated due to illness or an accident.
For this reason, I recommend creating a back to school emergency plan as your kids head back this fall, so there is no confusion or legal headaches should you find yourself in this situation. This plan, with the help of your estate planning attorney, can be created in four easy steps: [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…]
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – Legal Options and Financial Support
With the decline of the traditional nuclear family, individuals over 50 are increasingly vested with responsibility for the caretaking of young children and adolescents. Financial problems are the primary cause of seniors having to assume more “traditional” child-rearing duties. Whether due to a divorce, military service, substance abuse, mental illness or other secondary issues, some adults may be unable or simply unwilling to be good parents themselves. [Read more…]
What Really Happens to Your Estate if You Die Without a Will in Massachusetts?
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…]
When Should I Update My Estate Plan?
An estate plan that was suitable a few years ago may no longer be suitable today. One should look to update their estate planning every three to five years or even sooner if you experience a dramatic change in life circumstances. [Read more…]
Parent-Child Role Reversal
Most everyone would say that they want to be independent and remain in their own homes as long as possible. This sense of autonomy can be kept in place longer than ever before due to medical advances, assistive devices, and in-home care provided by family members and private caretakers. However, what happens when an elder can no longer remain safely in their home and an adult child is trying to get them the help they need?
Esther is 89 years old. She has lived alone since the death of her husband 23 years ago. She gave up driving two years ago, but is regularly visited by her children and grandchildren, who take care of errands or drive her to handle things herself. Lately, she has been rather unsteady on her feet. Additionally, she has been very forgetful and once left the stove on all night. She is also having trouble remembering to take her medications. There were so many her daughter, Susan, sorts them every week into a pill box. Esther still forgets to take them and sometimes actually doubles up on doses. Susan can see its time for more help but Esther is adamant about not having strangers in the house and doesn’t want to end up in “one of those places…” [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…]