Contesting a Will

I often get asked why I favor a trust over a will when drafting estate plans. Sometimes a will works well for someone, particularly if the estate is very small and simple. One of the big reasons I don’t favor wills is that they are easier to challenge in court than a trust. Challenging or contesting a will can just add more chaos and pain to an already difficult time when someone dies. A will, unlike a trust, has to go through probate. That means the will is filed in the court and becomes a part of the public record. Read More

Will vs. Living Will

When I talk to my clients, they often ask if they will get a living will with their documents and how a living will is different from, well, a plain, old regular will. They are actually very different documents. A will is a legal document that allows you to leave property to certain individuals and organizations when you die. It lists a representative who will oversee the process and make sure your wishes are followed. A will must go through probate, which means it must be submitted to a court for approval. The probate process can take at least 9 Read More

The Importance of a Medicaid Trust

The October 2019 issue of The Atlantic contains an article that highlights the importance of an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust. In the article, the author discusses how older individuals may lose their homes if they need go into a nursing home and need Medicaid (also known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) to pay for it. She asserts that it is a little-known fact that most people don’t know to address unless they have a lot of assets and are doing estate planning. I am here to tell you that you need to protect your home if you think you will need to Read More

What is Intestate?

Let’s back up a minute. What happens if you die without any estate planning at all? No will, no trust, nothing. If this happens, then you die intestate. Several things happen if you die intestate. Your estate must go through probate if you die intestate. This means the court must get involved to rule on the distribution of your assets because whatever possessions and property you have must, by law, be distributed. If you die without a will or trust, then Massachusetts law dictates how your assets will be distributed. You will not have any say in the matter. The Read More

You Get What You Pay For

Awhile back, I had a potential client contact me about creating her estate plan. She was well aware that she or her husband might have to go into a nursing home at some point, and she did not want to lose her family home to Medicaid if that happened. I discussed with her at length what I thought would be the best estate plan I could draft to suit her needs. She thought it sounded great and after discussing horses – she had horses in her childhood – I hung up from our conversation and sent her the requested engagement Read More