What Exactly Is Estate Planning In Massachusetts?
Estate planning is nothing more than the process of organizing one’s affairs in such a way as to transfer wealth to loved ones in a manner that will provide for minimal taxation, low administrative costs (primarily by the avoidance of probate fees), and asset protection. Many of the people we work with underestimate the value of their estate and are surprised to find that they actually have a substantial net worth.
Why Do We Need An Estate Plan?
When someone dies without an estate plan in place, the government will create one for them based on the intestacy laws of the decedent’s state of residence. Most people don’t like the results that come from these laws. For example, under such laws, the assets are often split between the surviving spouse and the children, but many people want their assets to be left for their spouse. For individuals who were not married, the law will dictate that the assets be split equally between siblings, nephews, or nieces, but many people want their assets to go to specific family members. Estate planning allows for a person to dictate how their assets will be distributed upon their death.
How Often Should Estate Plans Be Reviewed?
We generally suggest an estate plan review with your attorney once every three years or so, because there are many changes in the law, tax code, and estate planning techniques. We have a process whereby we do some of these reviews through free client-only seminars, which allows people to avoid the legal fees associated with one-on-one meetings with attorneys. During these seminars, we discuss relevant changes in the law and do a walk-through trust, which involves reviewing trust documents with a group of clients and advising them on new strategies, changes in the tax law, and how they will be impacted. We also do a funding review, which allows us to ensure that clients have put the appropriate assets into their revocable trusts. We define asset categories and review how to transfer assets into a trust. In general, we find that most people need to make minor changes to their plans about once every five years.
For more information on Estate Planning In The State Of Massachusetts, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (508) 775-7800 today.
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