The Heritage Law Center provides residents of eastern Massachusetts with caring, personalized estate planning services. As you seek to protect your assets and secure the future for yourself and your family, our experienced estate planning attorney, Matthew Karr, Esq., and his qualified staff, will make themselves available to you in ways most estate planning attorneys don’t. He believes in getting to know each client’s situation and goals during a free initial consultation, and using open communication between client and lawyer to create the best estate plan for every person.
Many people put off estate planning because they feel that they have plenty of time to get to the task, or because they are uncomfortable discussing some of the issues the process raises. In fact, the process is a reassuring one. Our clients often express gratitude for the peace of mind they experience once we’ve helped them take control of the future by providing for unexpected, as well as anticipated, events.
Why Do Your Estate Planning Now?
Estate planning is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. But it only works if you put it in place before something happens. Whether you have a large or modest estate, you want to:
- Preserve the value of your estate, including minimizing estate taxes and avoiding the costs of probate.
- Control how things are given to your loved ones.
- Minimize wait times for your assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries.
- Make sure your finances are managed well if you ever become incapacitated.
- Document your choices for medical care and end-of-life services.
- Help your loved ones avoid having to navigate through a legal mess during an emotional time.
- Avoid future family disputes over your estate or medical care by documenting your wishes.
The Advantages of Estate Planning with The Heritage Law Center
At The Heritage Law Center, we do everything we can to create an atmosphere of trust. From your initial consultation, you’ll find us not only knowledgeable about current state and federal law, but eager to share our knowledge with you in an easy-to-understand way. Furthermore, we’re:
- Extremely well-credentialed
- Always available for questions and concerns
- Backed by a history of successful evaluations by clients and peers
- Compassionate as well as efficient
- Attentive to detail
- Dedicated to drafting documents that will best serve your personal needs and goals
Because we charge flat fees for our estate planning services, you won’t ever have to worry about how much each conversation costs. In addition to creating new estate plans, we perform reviews of existing plans that may be out of date. And we offer a no-charge, 3-year review of the estate planning documents we draft. No matter what your age or specific circumstances, we’re here to give you the outstanding and affordable estate planning service you deserve.
Wills vs. Trusts
Our team offers you the best in legal counsel by helping you choose the right documents for your unique circumstances:
- A Last Will and Testament designates an executor, the individual who will settle the estate and make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. It also lets you select a guardian for any underage children.
- A trust holds legal title to property for the benefit of another person (“beneficiary”). A trust can be used to distribute property before death, at death, or afterwards.
The Benefits of Trusts
There are many types of trusts, each designed to serve a particular estate planning purpose. This is one of the primary reasons why having a skilled estate planning lawyer is so crucial. We’ll guide you to the trusts that will work best for you, for example:
- Protecting your assets from taxes, creditors, and possible lawsuits
- Protecting a special needs loved one from losing government benefits
- Keeping an irresponsible relative from blowing through their inheritance too quickly
- Providing for a beloved pet if you predecease it
The two basic categories of trusts are revocable and irrevocable. Revocable trusts help you avoid costly and time-consuming probate while preserving your privacy, because unlike wills, they aren’t public documents. Revocable trusts are flexible since you can change what’s in the trust or end the trust at any time. Irrevocable trusts take your assets out of your own name. This provides the advantage of keeping these assets from being vulnerable to taxes, unfavorable lawsuit verdicts, and predatory lenders. Irrevocable trusts can’t be changed or undone.
We’ll help you determine which trusts will be most helpful for you and your family. In addition, you can count on us to make sure every t is crossed and every i is dotted so that your trust documents, like all documents we draft and review for you, are clearly stated and legally binding.
Probate and Estate Administration
Probate is a court-managed process in which a deceased’s assets are managed and distributed. With our experienced probate lawyer beside you, you’ll be able to relax knowing that your assets are protected and your family’s future is secure. You can rely on us to streamline the process as much as possible, navigating around any obstacles that might interfere with smooth sailing.
We routinely advise trustees and work with them to ensure that trusts are being administered properly since they have a legal responsibility to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Matthew Karr, Esq., is a skillful trust administration attorney who acts as a trustee for clients upon their request.
Planning for Possible Incapacity
Most people going into estate planning are very uncomfortable with this aspect of the process. Nonetheless, this is a significant part of planning for your future. No one wants to think about mortality or incapacity, but one is inevitable and the other is possible (even if it’s only temporary).
If a crisis — such as a serious accident, a sudden medical event, or a debilitating illness — occurs in your family, being prepared for incapacity with proper documents will make it much easier to cope. Knowing the victim’s medical, financial, and familial wishes ahead of time will mean that much less turmoil and distress for your loved ones. At The Heritage Law Center, we’ll help ensure that such documents, including those below, are available at the moment they’re critically needed:
- Health care proxy
- Living will (including possible organ donation)
- Durable power of attorney
- Business succession plan
- HIPAA authorization
We can also assist you when you need to file for:
With our help, you can rest assured that, in case of a catastrophe, your minor children will be well cared for; your financial and medical decisions will be made by those you trust most; your business will continue as you’ve instructed; and you’ll receive precisely the medical interventions you have directed. In other words, we’ll have made certain that your voice will be “heard” when you can no longer speak for yourself.
Free Estate Planning Reports
You can find more information about estate planning in our free reports: Estate Planning Essentials Report, Massachusetts Estate Planning: Saving on Taxes Report and 7 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Selecting Guardians Report.
Contact Our North Shore Estate Planning Attorney
When you work with our team, estate planning is an ongoing process. We’re dedicated to keeping your plan updated by reviewing your estate plan with you as significant changes in your life occur. No matter what happens — marriage, birth, a new or expanding business, death in the family, impending college costs, divorce, or remarriage — we’ll see to it that you’re well-prepared for the future. Contact our law firm now for a free consultation.