In a previous blog we discussed the new probate law changes that were about to happen in Massachusetts. The effective date of those changes has been pushed back to the end of March, 2012. Although the estate administration process itself is designed to be quite simpler going forward under the new Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, there will still be many details that will need to be tweaked by the courts and attorneys who appear there during initial implementation. [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…]
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…]
Letting Software or Online Service Plan Your Estate: Is It Worth the Risk?
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…]
Astor Matter Reminds Us that Trustworthiness is Essential When Nominating Substitute Decision Makers
Lately, the matter of Brooke Astor’s estate has been covered in the media. Like many people she had an estate plan in place which included a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy, which nominated subsituted decision makers in the event she would lose the capacity to make important financial and/or medical decisions at some point during her elder years. She did not want to burden her family with obtaining a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship through the courts. She did end up suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her son took over her financial powers. He just didn’t do a very good job… [Read more…]
Michael Jackson’s Estate Plan Manages to Keep Some Private Matters Private
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…]