Yes, You Really Do Need an Estate Plan

A common misconception is that only the very rich require an estate plan. That’s simply not true. An estate plan is simply the use of a will or trust and incapacity documents to take care of your assets when you die, and your health and business needs if you are ever incapacitated. If you have a bank account, a car, a home, or any other items, then you have assets. Those assets will pass to someone after you die. If you want to be able to control who gets those assets, then you need to have an estate plan. Massachusetts Read More

Updating Your Estate Plan

Because of the COVID19 pandemic, many people are thinking about estate plans. You may think that once you get your estate plan drafted that you can make some changes just by handwriting in the changes and adding your signature to the change. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are specific procedures that have to be followed when you execute the documents in your estate plan. According to Massachusetts law, you need a certain number of witnesses and those witnesses must meet certain requirements. You must also have documents notarized. If you do not meet these requirements, then your will, trust, Read More

MOLST

Do you have a MOLST? Do you know if you should? MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. A MOLST is a standardized document that translates a patient’s preferences for certain life-sustaining medical treatments into an actual medical order. The medical order is effectively immediately, as soon as the doctor and patient sign the MOLST. It must be followed just like any other medical order. You can change your MOLST at any time. You can change the treatment you want even if it contradicts what you noted in your MOLST. While you should consult your physician about your specific Read More

Incapacity Documents in Other States

As winter approaches, I’ve been asked by clients who are going to warmer climates whether they should have additional incapacity documents drafted in the state where they will stay most of the winter. The first thing I tell them is to make sure their Massachusetts incapacity documents are current. They may want to change their health care proxy or perhaps the contact information for people listed in those documents has changed. Once we address the Massachusetts documents and make sure they are current and properly executed, then I talk about the issue of other jurisdictions. If you are just going 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