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Estate Planning and Probate

Legal Guidance You Can Depend on for Estate Planning and Probate in Massachusetts

Setting up estate plans that protect you and your loved ones.

You are working hard to build and preserve your personal wealth, and you deserve to have the ability to transfer your assets and property to your loved ones without excessive challenges and taxes. With all of life’s uncertainties, it is never too soon to start planning your future. At The Law Office of Tracey D. Smith, LLC we understand that these are diffuclt topics to discuss and we aproach them with compassion and understanding.  We assist individuals and families with a broad range of estate planning goals, as well as navigating the sometimes-complex probate process. This is important for you, regardless of whether or not you have large amounts of wealth, as estate planning can also include predetermined arrangements that protect your children and loved ones should you pass away. Through it all, Tracey and her team delivers responsive service and strategies tailored to your specific needs and concerns. When it comes time to develop your estate plan, trust in an experienced Massachusetts attorney with our firm.

What goes into a good estate plan?

Each estate planning process is different depending on the preferences and assets of the individual setting it up. However, the following are some of the common elements of a sound estate plan:

  • Trusts. Transferring assets through a trust offers greater confidentiality for you and your loved ones, and provides more flexibility. A Trust can be used to avoid the costly and lengthy probate process and to protect your assets from creditors.

  • Wills. Wills are a basic and important part of any estate plan. Wills allow individuals to transfer their assets and property to designated beneficiaries upon their death. Wills also name the individuals who will manage the estate as well as guardians for minor children.

  • Advance health care directives. These documents outline specific directions for your medical treatment in case you can no longer make decisions for yourself due to incapacitation. A directive also typically names power of attorney, which gives a designated individual the ability to make these important decisions on your behalf. Ideally, all adults should take the time to set up an advance health care directive.

  • Power of attorney. This allows you to designate someone you trust to handle your financial affairs in case you cannot do so yourself due to a medical issue or if you leave the country for a period of time. Ask an estate planning lawyer about the difference between durable and springing power of attorney arrangements.

Understanding probate in Massachusetts

After a loved one passes away, it’s likely that the individual’s estate will need to go through the probate process, in which a court appoints a friend or family member to be the estate’s administrator or personal representative. This person is responsible for paying off debts and disbursing the remainder of the estate to heirs. Depending on the situation and whether or not the deceased had a will, this can be a fairly straightforward or extremely complex and expensive process.

Probate is not always necessary, especially if deceased individuals organized a trust before their death. Regardless, you should work with a probate lawyer to ensure you meet all of your legal obligations and to make this process goes as smoothly as possible.

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