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Massachusetts Estate Planning
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MassHealth regulation 130 CMR 515.014 has been updated! The updated regulation, effective December 15, 2014, provides that long-term care insurance now need only meet the estate recovery exemption criteria at the time of purchase. This brings the regulations in compliance with statutory amendments and resolves a problematic MassHealth policy. MassHealth... Continue reading
The standard advice for retirment planning is generally: save diligently, invest sensibly, make the most of tax-advantaged accounts and employer matches, etc., etc. However, there are some quirky techniques that can be combined with conventional planning to produce an enhanced retirement outlook. A recent Forbes article entitled "3 Offbeat Ways... Continue reading
Happy New Year! Today marks the true end of the holidays, and the return to normalcy and routine. As we embark on the new year, the conversation inevitably shifts to talk of taxes...those that we owe for the prior year, and what we can expect for the current year. The... Continue reading
Often, people mistakenly think that they have no need for estate planning because their estate is smaller than the exclusions for federal ($5.43 million) and Massachusetts ($1 million) estate taxes. In fact, there is a lot more to estate planning than just estate taxes. In his article "Estate Planning is... Continue reading
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Providing for grandchildren's college expenses is becoming an important estate planning goal for many families. Many people see it as one of the best ways to contribute to the overall health of future generations. 529 college savings plans are a very useful tool to accomplish this goal, but only if... Continue reading
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When a trustee passes away or becomes incapacitated, someone else has to take over the trust. This new trustee is called a successor trustee and needs to learn about all of his or her duties in handling the trust. Most revocable living trusts are created similarly in one regard -... Continue reading
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With the holiday season upon us, the charitable giving season is also upon us. Charitable giving is important not only for income tax purposes, but can also be important for estate tax purposes. For tax purposes, a charitable gift is deemed made on the day the gift was delivered to... Continue reading
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People are living longer and longer than they used to. While that is a great thing, it is beginning to cause issues for many estate plans, especially when trusts are involved. It used to be that most people received their inheritances from their parents when they were in their 40s... Continue reading
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If your spouse passed away in the last three years, the IRS is offering a potential estate tax break for your estate. However, you need to act quickly if you want to take advantage of it. One of the newer and better provisions in tax law is that you can... Continue reading
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It is always a good idea to change your estate plan when there are significant changes in your life. You should also change your estate plan when there are significant changes in the law. As there have been recent changes in tax laws, now is a good time for married... Continue reading
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One of the richest aristocrats in Europe passed away recently and details about her estate plan have been made public. She left her husband nothing. Spain's Duchess of Alba was a notoriously flamboyant woman and one of the wealthiest women in Europe. A direct descendant of King James II of... Continue reading
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Although James Brown passed away in 2006, his estate is not yet settled. The sticky issue in the case is whether or not Brown was married when he passed away and the answer to that question is not simple. James Brown's will left nothing to his longtime companion, Tomirae Hynie.... Continue reading
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Normally when people have billions of dollars, they do not lose it all. It is difficult to lose that much money in one lifetime. However, that may have happened to one man who was once the second richest man in Russia. At one point Boris Berezovsky was believed to be... Continue reading
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There are some businesses designed to sell estate plans that have no business doing so. They will use non-attorney sales people to talk you into buying a trust that you do not need. These businesses are called trust mill peddlers. People often want to learn about estate planning and what... Continue reading
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Generally speaking people can do whatever they want in their will sand the court will enforce their wishes. However, there are some controversial things that are done in wills that a court might disallow. People have been known to do all sorts of strange things with their wills. Some people... Continue reading
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People who have earned wealth want to maintain control of it. However, they often choose estate planning tools that deprive them of that control or they mistakenly believe that alternative estate planning tools would deprive them of control. If you have earned your own wealth, then the last thing you... Continue reading
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A new lawsuit in New York brought by an ex-wife claims that a second wife stole the inheritance of a deceased attorney's minor children. As I have noted before, whenever someone gets remarried and changes his estate plan to favor his new wife, there can be bitter feelings between the... Continue reading
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Once you have an estate plan, it is extremely important that the original documents in the plan be preserved so that they are available after you pass away. If the originals are not preserved, there can be serious consequences. Before a will can be submitted to probate, the original will... Continue reading
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The rise in blended families, when a person remarries and has children from a previous marriage, has led to a corresponding rise in those families fighting over estates. While these fights cannot always be avoided, there are ways to minimize their possibility. When a parent with adult children remarries, it... Continue reading
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One of the more difficult aspects of estate planning is how to handle real estate. This is because how the real estate is inherited can have important tax considerations for the heirs. Quite often when people inherit land, they wish to sell it afterwards. For example, if you leave your... Continue reading
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Parents have many different reasons for wanting to disinherit one of their children. Whatever the reason, it is important to consider a few things when disinheriting a child. Although it is always a painful decision, some parents feel like they have no other choice but to disinherit a child. If... Continue reading
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It is normally a good idea to tell your family how you plan to distribute your assets in your estate plan. It is a good way to help prevent fighting later on. However, what happens when you later change your mind and your family already has plans about how to... Continue reading
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When the founder of a family-owned business passes away, the next generation often fights over how the business should be run and who should be in control. One such feud might finally be close to coming to an end after nearly 20 years. John Griffin founded his family business, Griffin... Continue reading
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You can only give a limited amount of money to people during your lifetime without that money being subject to the gift tax. Beginning in 2015, that amount will increase. Gifting is an important part of estate planning for wealthy people. It provides a way to give money to family... Continue reading
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When creating their estate plans, the overwhelming majority of parents want to distribute their assets equally between all of their children. However, many parents have good reason not to do that. For those parents, leaving unequal inheritances in a way that does not cause siblings to fight is a major... Continue reading