Massachusetts Estate Planning: What to Do When Your Healthcare Proxy Cannot Be Relied Upon

The Best-Laid Plans You did it. You did what so many of your friends and family members have not, what you yourself dragged your feet on for years longer than you should have. You made arrangements for your estate, appointed a healthcare proxy, and relaxed, knowing that your family and doctors will have a clear idea of your wishes even when you are no longer able to communicate those wishes. And then you hit a snag: your designated healthcare proxy no longer can, or no longer will, carry out your wishes for your medical care and end-of-life treatment. Perhaps your

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How to put real estate properties in trust so that your heirs can benefit without having to be involved in day-to-day management of your properties.

Considering Real Estate When Estate Planning Real estate can be the key to financial independence for a lifetime. Through collecting rents and investing in your holdings, you may have built a good life for yourself, your family, and your other loved ones. But managing and maintaining properties is a time-consuming task. You know this. At a certain scale property management becomes a full-time job and incompatible with pursuing another career. If it becomes necessary to hire someone—whether a property manager, office assistant, or on-call repair team—to help with property upkeep and tenant relations, this only adds the work of managing

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Credit Shelter Trusts Aren’t Just for the Super Wealthy

Credit shelter trusts are a way to take full advantage of state and federal estate tax exemptions. Although such trusts may appear needless unless you are a multi-millionaire, there are still reasons for those of more modest means to do this kind of planning, and one of the main ones is state taxes. The first $11.7 million (in 2021) of an estate is exempt from federal estate taxes, so theoretically a husband and wife would have no estate tax if their estate is less than $23.4 million. The estate tax is also “portable” between spouses. This means that if the first spouse

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Paying Taxes When Selling an Inherited Vacation House

While it may seem great to inherit a vacation house, in actuality it may not be practical to keep the property, especially for tax reasons. There are many factors to consider when inheriting property, including taxes, any mortgage, and other owners. But if you know you do not plan to keep the property, it is better to sell it sooner, rather than later. Property like a house or stocks usually appreciates in value and is worth more than it was when the original owner purchased it. If you were to sell the property, there could be huge capital gains taxes.

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End-of-Life Care Decision Making

Just as we create estate plans for our eventual demise, we also need to plan ahead for the possibility that we will become sick and unable to make our own medical decisions. Medical science has created many miracles, among them the technology to keep patients alive longer, sometimes indefinitely. As a result of many well-publicized “right to die” cases, states have made it possible for individuals to give detailed instructions regarding the kind of care they would like to receive should they become terminally ill or are in a permanently unconscious state. These instructions fall under the general category of

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Watch Out for These Potential Problems with Life Estates

Life estates can be an excellent tool for Medicaid planning, probate avoidance and tax efficiency, but there are potential problems to look out for. Knowing the implications and risks of a life estate is essential in determining whether it is appropriate for your situation. In a life estate, two or more people each have an ownership interest in a property, but for different periods of time. The person holding the life estate — the life tenant — possesses the property during his or her life. The other owner — the remainderman — has a current ownership interest but cannot take possession

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