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Estate Planning

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Considering BitCoin, Facebook, Paypal, E-Mail, and other Digital Assets in Estate Planning


It is estimated that three-fourths of all adults who use the internet are on Facebook (roughly 58% of the population in the United States).  Only a small fraction of those people have made arrangements for what happens to their Facebook profile after they die.  Some people may not be concerned with how, or if, their Facebook profile lives on after they die, but what about other digital assets?

In today's world, many people have digital currency, such as an account with PayPal.  Many people have stored Amazon gift cards that can amass hundreds of dollars.  Unless someone gains access to your password after you die (and hopefully that someone is someone you would want to have access to your password), this money can be lost in cyberspace and not passed on to your loved ones.
Read more . . .


Friday, December 1, 2017

When You Should Review Your Will and Other Estate Planning Documents

Probably the most common legal request I get is to draft a will for a client.  Inevitably the client has one major question: how often do I need to update or change the will?  Truth be told, there is no hard and fast rule about how often you should update or change your will, but there are some important guidelines to follow.

First, you should review your will (and all of your estate planning documents, including your health care proxy and durable power of attorney) immediately after a major life event.  These life events include (1) the death of an immediate family member; (2) a chance in marital status (marriage, divorce, annulment, passing of your spouse); (3) an addition to your family (birth of a child or grandchild, adoption, new marriage, stepchildren, etc.); (4) a loved one has become ill, incapacitated, or dependent on you; (5) there has been a substantial change in the value of your assets (new house, boat, job, etc.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court makes important ruling on medicaid benefits and irrevocable trusts


One of the biggest questions clients face when considering utilizing Trusts for their various assets is whether to use a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust.  It is a complicated question with no easy answer that will apply to every single client.  Some clients will prefer the added protection of the Irrevocable Trust while others like the flexibility that is allowed by a Revocable Trust.

In recent months, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made a ruling on two important cases involving MassHealth (the state agency which administers benefits in Massachusetts) and Irrevocable Trusts. 

For many years, MassHealth would fight against the long-held notion that a home that was held in an Irrevocable Trust could not be held as a countable asset.
Read more . . .


Friday, May 26, 2017

A Defective Will Can Cost You and Your Family Time, Energy, and Money

We've all seen the advertisements or received the e-mails saying that estate planning is easy and can be done hassle free online.  In fact, I recently received an e-mail from Groupon offering a significantly discounted will package including a last will and testament, healthcare proxy, and durable power of attorney at a significantly reduced cost.  While the cost reduction sounds great, the laws in Massachusetts and Rhode Island do not care if you did your estate planning yourself or if you hired the best lawyer in the country to do so.  At the end of the day, your estate planning has to conform to your state's unique and non-waivable rules of law. 


Read more . . .


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