Retired adults or those approaching retirement in Winchester, Massachusetts, need to begin thinking seriously about asset protection and creating an estate plan that implements asset protection. Since more than 38% of the population in Winchester, the small suburban town just north of Boston, are over the age of 50, considerations regarding final directives are important.
If you are a Winchester resident, do you know how your assets will be distributed? Here at Family Estate Planning Law Group we can guide you through creating a comprehensive plan that will ensure your family has the financial support they need following your death.
They will also have minimal exposure to liabilities like estate taxes or probate proceedings. Our team of knowledgeable elder law and estate planning attorneys will work hard to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes while remaining outside probate, and out of the hands of creditors.
What Makes FEPLG Unique?
There are several things that make Family Estate Planning Law Group unique among estate planning attorneys. Ultimately the biggest difference is that we are relationship-based instead of transactionally-based. Following your initial complimentary consultation, we will begin working with you to prepare a comprehensive estate plan that is tailored to your needs, your assets, your family, and your life situation. Our unique SAVeT™ System implements the following:
- Simplify/Consolidation—The key to SAVeT™ is simplification. We help you consolidate your assets prior to your asset alignment meeting. When you have fewer overall assets, there is a decreased chance of probate, along with a more efficient estate plan.
- Align—Assets will be aligned with your estate plan, including things such as beneficiary designations, Powers of Attorney, and more.
- Verify—Alignment is verified with institutions to prevent any future surprises.
- Track—Finally, we will continually track your assets to ensure alignment and verification stay current. Laws change, rules of institutions change, assets change, and your life will change. We help you to ensure alignment and verification remain stable throughout.
At some point during the process, you may choose to participate in a Family Care Meeting™. This is a meeting that may include your adult children, other loved ones, beneficiaries, trustees, your financial advisor, accountant, or anyone else you choose. Our team works with your team to open up communication regarding your estate plan, ensuring there are no surprises in the future and everyone is equipped with the information they need to ensure your loved ones are cared for when they need it.
We facilitate the conversation in a way that makes estate planning feel approachable, while answering any questions you or your advisors may have. Then, our ongoing client care program ensures your estate plan stays current throughout changes to your family, estate planning laws, institution rules, your assets, or your wishes. We help you ensure your loved ones are protected and that your assets are distributed as you choose, and we wholeheartedly believe in our firm’s slogan—Together We Plan for Life®.
Why Do I Need an Elder Law Attorney for My Winchester Estate Plan?
Winchester residents, along with residents across the nation, are living longer than ever before. This has created new areas of law that focus on ensuring seniors receive proper treatment and care. Elder law, along with a properly designed estate plan, provides protections for the elderly and their assets. FEPLG has specially trained team members that can guide you through your asset protection strategy in the following areas:
- Trusts that preclude the need for probate
- Estate tax planning
- Estate administration
- Long-term care matters involving Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security
- Healthcare proxies and end-of-life planning
- Retirement planning
What is Probate?
Massachusetts has a court-supervised process called probate to enable surviving family members to take control of a deceased loved one’s estate. This process involves the following:
- Paying any outstanding taxes
- Ensuring creditors get paid
- Conducting asset appraisals
- Distributing remaining assets according to the will or state intestacy laws
Under Massachusetts law, when an individual dies owning any assets in their name alone, even if they have a Will, the decedent’s assets must go through probate. A judge will then review the Will and approve its validity. From there, the estate gets distributed according to the decedent’s wishes. This process is public, can incur substantial expense, and often takes a year or longer to complete.
If you die without a Will or estate plan, or your Will is found invalid, your assets are subject to state succession laws. This situation could result in your property ending up in the hands of those you would not have chosen. Dying without an estate plan, or only having a Last Will and Testament, guarantees your family will be forced to participate in an expensive, lengthy, stressful probate process. Having a comprehensive, professionally prepared Trust as a part of your estate plan can help to ensure this does not occur.
How Can Probate Be Avoided?
At FEPLG, many of our Winchester clients wonder how they can avoid probate, sparing loved ones from the process. The delays that inevitably occur (due to court scheduling and documentation requirements) can place your surviving spouse or children through additional financial hardships; here at Family Estate Planning Law Group we can guide you through caring for your family by helping them to avoid probate after you die.
There are a number of important steps we can help you take to create an estate plan that will benefit your family, ensuring they receive the financial support they need immediately after your death. Living Trusts are a popular option as these allow you to stay in complete control of your property and assets throughout your lifetime, while avoiding probate after your death.
The flexibility these Trusts afford allows you to determine who benefits from those assets once you are gone. Being able to directly transfer access to your assets to a named Successor Trustee upon your death means your beneficiaries can avoid probate court and have access to your assets as soon as they need them after you die.
FEPLG provides you with a team of highly qualified estate planning attorneys who can evaluate your assets to determine how to avoid the probate process and best care for your loves ones. By planning ahead, you will provide your surviving loved ones with a simplified estate distribution experience.
Family Estate Planning Law Group Helps Winchester Families Create Legacies
If you or a senior loved one are considering your options related to assets and property, working with the Family Estate Planning Law Group team can provide you with an informative and compassionate estate planning experience. For over 30 years we have formed long-lasting partnerships with Winchester businesses and families to ensure their assets and property provide the maximum benefit to their loved ones through a comprehensive estate plan.
Our Winchester estate planning team is proud of our Family Care Meetings™ that help you include your heirs and others in the process. We understand that deciding how your assets and property will be distributed in the event of your death is a delicate and at times stressful subject, and our attorneys have many years of experience facilitating these discussions.
To learn more about FEPLG and to set up a free complimentary consultation, contact us online through our website. We also have a blog full of informative articles about estate planning and details about our practice so that you can get to know us better.