Many clients say "I don't have an estate," believing that estate planning is only for the wealthy and not a process that they should consider. However, having a well-prepared estate plan benefits you, your family, and those close to you. The term Estate Planning really boils down to having documents prepared - some as simple as Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives. Having these documents in place will save your loved ones from time consuming and expensive litigation should a time come where you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to an accident or medical condition.
You don't have to be wealthy to need an estate plan. Even if you choose to only prepare a will, executing this document can prevent your family from having to face the uncertainly of intestacy.
The Estate Planning process requires a careful weighing of personal and family goals against the fulfillment of legal, financial and tax requirements. Our integrated approach to Estate Planning, involving you and your financial team, allows us to balance these important considerations, and deliver a carefully crafted, personalized estate plan.
We prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance health-care directives, and help clients with beneficiary designations for their retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
We advise clients on matters of federal and Massachusetts taxes, including estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes so they make the best decisions for the distribution of their assets.
In the event that family concerns or the scope of personal assets warrant more extensive planning, we also:
Draft irrevocable trusts for life insurance, real estate or other assets;
Advise our individual clients about the use of charitable trusts or other methods of planned giving;
Help plan and coordinate lifetime gifts to family members;
Provide advice concerning the transfer of interests in family partnerships and closely held corporations;
Formulate trusts for family members with special needs.
In certain cases, our clients ask us to act as trustee of specific trusts or as a personal representative of their estates. While this is not a role we actively solicit, the combination of our familiarity with the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code, other relevant state laws and the Internal Revenue Code, as well as our professional impartiality and our knowledge of a family's specific goals, allows us to serve in that role effectively. In such cases, we work to facilitate agreement between family members and other beneficiaries.