How Can I Avoid Probate?

Avoiding Massachusetts probate is often the goal of my clients who have been through the process before: they know best the headaches and expense involved. But how can one avoid becoming mired in the Massachusetts probate process? There are several steps you can take to keep your assets out of the probate court and in…

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LGBT Estate Planning in Massachusetts

For a variety of reasons, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to Massachusetts estate planning. One of the most glaring reasons for this is the federal government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages as having the same legal standing as heterosexual unions. Even though gay…

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Essential Estate Tax Planning for Massachusetts Families

Every Massachusetts family with a total asset value of over $1 million should consider creating a trust to reduce their estate tax exposure.  The math is simple; failure to create an appropriate trust structure can cost even a modest estate tens of thousands of dollars in otherwise avoidable estate taxes.   Yet many Massachusetts families are…

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Year End Gifting Strategies for Your Estate

Gifting and other estate tax reduction strategies have been at the forefront of many estate planning discussions as we approach the holidays due to the uncertainty over the estate and gift tax rules for next year. While current Federal estate and gift tax rates have been relatively favorable, much less favorable rules are set to…

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Living Trust Benefits in Massachusetts

For many Massachusetts residents, the value in creating a living trust (also called a revocable trust) can not be overstated. A living trust can provide many concrete, money saving and family protection benefits that go well beyond simply listing how you want assets distributed when you die. Sometimes clients ask me, “We have Wills, why…

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Using Gifts to Avoid Estate Taxes

Estate tax planning as part of an overall estate plan has been a hot-button issue lately for many families who are concerned that the federal estate tax exemption will be reduced from $5 million to $1 million as it’s scheduled to do on January 1st, 2013. That means that the federal and Massachusetts estate tax…

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Important Changes to Tax Planning for Estates Over $1M

For most Massachusetts residents, one million dollars is a sizeable estate. For Massachusetts estate tax planning, the $1M mark is an important threshold because that is when Massachusetts imposes a tax on your estate when you die. The estate tax generally works like this: if your estate is valued at one dollar less than $1M…

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Massachusetts Life Estates – MassHealth eligibility

Creating a life estate in Massachusetts can help protect your investment in your home, keep an important asset in the family and reduce your estate for MassHealth eligibility. However, life estates are not right for everyone. Here is a primer on what you need to know before considering whether creating a life estate could be…

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