Boston Estate Planning Attorney | North Andover Estate Planning
Boston estate planning attorney Michael J Hurley provides estate planning services throughout Massachusetts from offices in North Andover. Michael offers a free phone consultation (617) 712-2000 to discuss Wills, Living Trusts, Trust contests, starting Probate, assistance drafting probate documents, probate challenges, probate contests, and scheduling a probate court appearance on your behalf.
I am Boston estate planning attorney, Michael J. Hurley. If you need help creating an estate plan, taking care of aging parents, or need help with the probate process, I am an experienced estate planning attorney who offers top-drawer legal services coupled with affordable fees from offices located in Boston and North Andover MA.
You will meet exclusively with me – Boston estate planning attorney Michael J. Hurley. You will not interact with a staffer, a paralegal or even a junior attorney. I’ve structured it so that virtually everyone can afford one-on-one first-class legal services. I physically “cringe” when I learn that a person went to an online document paper-mill to purchase a boilerplate, generic estate plan that is supposed to protect them and their family in such a complex legal minefield. In the estate planning community, we hear the unfortunate fallout which a constant stream of is sad, sometimes tragic, stories the result of flawed Internet estate planning documents.
We Can Work Remotely
In today’s age of having everything brought to our door by Whole Foods, Amazon, Walmart and Uber Eats, know that most estate planning services can be done remotely by phone and email. Estate planning done in person –or remotely– either way, you will receive sophisticated, top-drawer legal services.
Expedited Wills and Trusts Service
We receive many URGENT ‘last minute’ requests for estate planning documents. If you or a loved one is facing major surgery or in the ICU following an accident or unexpected illness we are here for you. Michael is very much aware that many Wills, Living Trusts, and Health Care Directives are urgent and needed as soon as can be drafted for signature.
We Can Come to Your Home, Office, Hospital or Nursing Home
You need not travel to our offices in in Boston or North Andover. We can get the process going over the phone and complete it remotely. If you need to meet in person, you are welcome to come to either of our offices, or Mr. Hurley can arrange a visit to your home, work, hospital room or nursing home.
If the clock is running and you’re concerned about time – CALL US… Let’s see if our compassionate and caring firm can meet your deadlines and expectations. We are in this business to help individuals and families!
Wills, Trusts and Estates
Together, in our offices or in your home, we will begin to create an estate plan for you. It could be as simple as a Will and a Health care directive. Or, it may include a trust, if needed to better protect you. Whatever you decide, I will then flesh out your estate plan by creating the necessary legal documents that will make it uniquely yours following our initial meeting. As a skilled Boston estate planning attorney, I deliver affordable estate planning services to residents throughout Massachusetts including Essex County, Middlesex County, Suffolk County, Merrimack Valley, Boston, North Shore, and Lawrence from my Canal Street Boston office or my North Andover office.
I will explain each document and its value to you. When you are pleased, and everything is just as you envision it, I’ll prepare your complete estate plan package. You will end up with an affordable, protective, legal estate plan that uniquely-addresses your needs and desires. It will protect what is yours, and make sure that your heirs and loved ones don’t inherit a mess to clean up, but instead, will appreciate all that you’ve done for them. After all, you took a moment in time to create a Will, maybe a Trust and other powerful documents to make SURE that the State of Massachusetts does not rudely butt into your families’ lives and make more stressful that which will already be a time of significant emotion.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Will or Trust?
You choose the “State of Massachusetts DEFAULT Estate Plan.” The State of Massachusetts takes over as the “decider” of who gets what if you have NO Will, Trust or Estate Plan. That’s a horrible thing to allow to happen to your loved ones. State government bureaucrats get involved in your private family affairs. If you don’t make a legal estate plan (Will, Trust, Health Care Directive), then complete strangers can decide the fate of your stuff, even the guardianship of minor children, because you failed to specify those desires in a legal document. Call Boston estate planning attorney Michael J. Hurley for a free phone consultation to get your questions answered now. (617) 712-2000
Don’t allow Probate judges and government bureaucrats to intervene! If you don’t make a Will or Estate Plan, the State of Massachusetts will make decisions for your spouse, kids, and loved ones that are often 180-degrees opposite of what you would have wanted to happen. Sadly, the documents that can prevent this outcome, take two or three simple sit-down meetings. Moreover, the costs are not a huge deal.
Upshot – Don’t leave your spouse, kids, grandkids and loved-ones a mess the government must unravel. You can take care EVERYTHING with just a couple of meetings.
I will personally help you create an estate plan of your choosing: from a very simple Will to a more elaborate estate plan should you have significant income and lots of assets. I will personally create all the estate documents you choose to include in your estate plan. I will also handle all interactions with the courts and government entities on your behalf. Call and speak with me personally at (617) 712-2000.
Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney
As your Massachusetts estate planning attorney, I will counsel and assist you in creating a tailored estate plan for the transition of your assets your chosen beneficiaries. Beneficiaries typically include spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, and charities. You need an estate planning attorney you trust who will take the time needed to talk about you, your family and your goals.
Estate Planning Services We Offer:
- Living Wills
- Will Contests — When your rightful inheritance is in jeopardy.
- Living Trusts
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Trust Administration
- Trust Administration Services
- Trust Contests — When would-be beneficiaries are wrongfully disinherited from estate.
- How to Avoid Probate
- Probate Administration
- Probate Contests — When you contest a Will during or after Probate.
- Powers of Attorney | Durable Power of Attorney
“Wills” are sometimes called “Simple Wills.” Making a Will is a good place to start for single persons, couples who rent rather than own, and those without significant assets such that you would have to pay estate taxes if you should unexpectedly pass in the coming years.
So many people don’t have a Will or any kind of estate plan. People hesitate to make a Will because it seems difficult. With my one-on-one help it will be a snap. If you’ve been procrastinating for years, don’t feel guilty, instead, decide right now to call me personally at (617) 712-2000.
As your personal estate planning attorney, I will take the time necessary to learn about your life, your family, and your long-term desires. Then, I will create for you a Will and some necessary companion documents. This will become a straight-forward, Will-based estate plan that will protect you and your family.
For most people, a Will-based estate plan will consist of:
- Advance Directive
- Durable Power of Attorney
A “Living Will” is another term for “Advance Health Care Directive.” An “advance health care directive,” also referred to as a “living will”, provides written instructions to family members and medical professionals regarding extraordinary life support measures and end-of-life care.
If you were in a severe car accident resulting in you being in a coma, how would your doctors and family members know your wishes? I can create for you a Health Care Proxy that will designate another person to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to. A “Living Will” is a legal document where you will list medical treatments that you would agree to — or not agree to — should you ever become incapacitated or terminally ill and are unable to make your own decisions.
Don’t worry that you don’t know about medical treatments and scenarios. As your personal estate planning attorney, I will quiz you about medical treatments and situations such as coma, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, and brain death (persistent vegetative state). You can then choose your decisions for each.
An “advance health care directive” is more than a typical doctor’s office check list where you look over 200 conditions you might have had. Instead, you will go on record whether you want some “heroic measures,” taken. For example, you could choose to ‘opt in’ for CPR, resuscitation, blood transfusions, but chose to ‘opt out’ of being on a ventilator for weeks or months if your doctors determine that you are in a persistent vegetative state.
Your “living will package” of documents can also let your family know if you’d prefer to remain in a hospital or be cared for at home with a home care professional. If you are dying, you can determine who you want by your bedside — and who do you want not to be there. If you feel that young children or grandchildren might me emotionally impacted, you can choose to shield them from that experience. All these decisions are yours to make, and your wishes will be followed if you take a little time to create your “Living Will.”
“Will Contests” are very common and arise during the Probate process. In fact, we are regularly contacted by out-of-state ‘would-be beneficiaries’ who have learned that some or all their expected inheritance has been diverted to a sibling, or a non-family care giver. One typical scenario is that a neighbor to the beneficiaries’ childhood home will reach out to a now-married beneficiary living outside of Massachusetts on Facebook and comment that “your childhood house is up for sale” what’s up with that? That will be the first they heard that their parents’ home is being sold without their knowledge or input raising all manner of red flags.
I am an experienced Massachusetts estate planning attorney. I can help you contest a Will that may have been altered recently by someone using ‘undue influence’ or outright fraud. I can also help you dispute ongoing Probate proceedings. If your parents’ home (your rightful inheritance) is listed for sale, my office can file suit to halt the sale until a proper determination of inheritance is established in the local Probate Court.
Living Trusts | Revocable Trusts
“Living Trusts” are also called “Revocable Trusts.” Revocable Trusts (Living Trusts) have many advantages over Wills. Let’s combine the two descriptions and call a Living Trust a “Revocable Living Trust.”
A ‘Revocable Living Trust’ can be a substitute for a Will. A Massachusetts Revocable Living Trust enables you to avoid the excruciating time delays and expenses involved in Probate administration. Furthermore, a Revocable Living Trust allow you to transfer the control of your home (and other assets) to a loved-one quickly, at less cost, without government bureaucrats making family decisions, and without your private family details becoming part of the public record. Lastly, a Revocable Living Trust reduces the possibility of disputes among family members after the death of the grantor (originator) of the trust.
Avoid Probate – The primary advantage of a Revocable Living Trust is avoiding Probate Court. Think about what would happen if you were to pass away unexpectedly. You know all the emotional trauma an unexpected death cause. Besides all the disruptions and emotions your loved ones would experience upon your death, your spouse and kids might be unable to move on with their lives for a year or longer! Your spouse might not be able to access some bank accounts to pay the mortgage or bills. If things get financially dicey and your loved ones want to sell a home or other asset, they may not be allowed to UNTIL some Probate judge gives permission. The Probate process takes from 9-months to 18-months and is not cheap. Upshot? Creating an affordable “Revocable Living Trust” will spare your family UNNECESSARY heartache, anxiety, time, and expense following your passing.
Privacy – A Revocable Living Trust keeps family business and details private. A Living Trust, when properly created, keeps your private financial and family member details private! You can prevent government intervention into the lives of your family and heirs. A simple Will often needs to go through the Probate process. That means your confidential family business will become part of the public record where nosey neighbors, co-workers, or anyone can view your family wealth, family squabbles, lists of your assets and property, and who gets what.
Changes Made at Any Time – A Massachusetts Revocable Living Trust can be changed at any time. You create it. You can change it. You will typically transfer all your major assets into the trust (home, bank accounts, other assets) but you continue to enjoy, use, and manage them during your lifetime as if nothing changed. As your personal Boston estate planning attorney, I will draft you an affordable Living Trust package –remotely all by phone, a visit or two to my Boston or North Andover office, or I can come to you.
Putting my home in the Revocable Trust
The decision to put your home into the revocable trust depends on a few factors, and is something we work with clients to evaluate as they consider which assets should be used to fund the revocable trust.
If you have a mortgage on your home – sometimes changing title to the home will trigger the “Due on Sale” clause, which causes full payment to become due immediately whenever title to the home changes. Most lenders will provide a waiver when moving a home into a revocable trust, but we work with the clients to obtain this waiver first before moving the home into the revocable trust.
Also, if you want to refinance – some lenders will want the mortgage in the name of the grantor and if that is different than the owner of the home (the revocable trust), it can create some hurdles (e.g. moving the house out of the trust and then back into the grantor’s name). Many lenders understand that the grantor and the revocable trust are controlled by the same person and will process the refinancing, but again it’s a factor to consider before making the decision about moving the home into the revocable trust.
Lastly, if you move your home into a revocable trust and anything happened to you – during the first two years after the change, it could trigger forfeiture of the step up in basis for capital gains if the home were to be sold after your death.
An Irrevocable trust, cannot be changed, amended or terminated once established. Unlike Revocable Trusts, you cannot access or control assets in Irrevocable Trusts, because the trust is under control of a trustee. Under some circumstances, with the permission of the beneficiaries, changes are allowed.
So, what are Irrevocable Trusts good for?
Irrevocable Trusts are created to address specific family situations: such as gifting of assets to future generations, protecting assets from creditors, and leveraging significant tax advantages.
Tax Advantages – Assets placed in an Irrevocable Trust will not be taxed when you die. Assets placed in an Irrevocable Trust are protected from creditor lawsuits. Finally, an Irrevocable Trust spares your family the need to come up with significant estate taxes. Likely you’ve read or heard news stories of families inheriting the family farm, only to have to immediately sell the inherited farm to pay off the estate taxes! Many of those tragic stories need not have played out so sadly.
Irrevocable Trusts are often used in sizeable estates. As an experienced Boston area estate planning attorney, I can often structure one or more Irrevocable Trusts to reduce the valuation of large estates below state and Federal estate tax exemption thresholds.
An “Irrevocable Family Trust” is a Trust for the benefit of one or more family members. The person who creates the trust (the settlor), specifies certain family members to include in the trust (the beneficiaries). The settlor “funds” property and assets into the Irrevocable Family Trust which is then distributed to the beneficiaries by a designated “trustee” according to the trust’s instructions. The trust is irrevocable and once created, the “settlor” cannot modify or terminate the trust without the consent of the “beneficiaries.” Call for a free phone consultation with a Boston estate planning attorney. You’ll speak personally with me, Michael J. Hurley. (617) 712-2000
Life Insurance Trusts
An “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust” (ILIT)can be used to reduce potential federal estate taxes. People buy life insurance so when they pass, their loved ones have a source of cash to keep going. Unfortunately, without proper estate planning, all the blessing that you intend from the proceeds of a life insurance policy, much of the cash proceeds is often wasted because of unexpected –and unnecessary– estate taxes.
You can prevent the life insurance pay out to be included in the whole valuation of the estate and prevent estate taxes to diminish your intended cash blessing. For larger estates where there are potential federal estate taxes, a well-drafted Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust could become the “owner” of the life insurance policy. That removes the life insurance proceeds from the insured’s estate valuation. The beneficiaries of the life insurance policy would see significant and intended cash proceeds to keep the surviving family members afloat in your absence.
Properly-drafted Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts can be drafted to exclude the insurance policy from the insured’s estate and from the surviving spouse’s estate, the children’s and grandchildren’s estates as well. There are many asset protections trusts available. Get a Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust custom-drafted by Boston estate planning attorney Michael Hurley.
to take advantage of a free phone consultation or to schedule a reduced fee sit-down consultation in our downtown Boston office, out North Andover office, or at your home, your business, hospital room, or even at your corner Starbucks.
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