Essex County Estate Planning Attorney
Essex County estate planning attorney, Michael J. Hurley, understands that estate planning is a critical legal process to prepare for the future. For individuals and families with substantial assets, thoughtful careful estate planning is paramount to preserving property for the next generation.
Individuals and couples with more modest estates – those who have a family home, bank accounts, retirement plan, maybe some investments, jewlery, art, guns, coin and other collections will appreciate the benefits of an affordable, custom-tailored estate plan.
As an experienced Essex County estate planning attorney, I am here to assist clients in the drafting wills and establishing trusts as they plan for the future. For those facing the current reality of a loved ones’ passing, we are here to offer legal counsel and help to begin the probate process, or assistance to Executors and Trustees administering the Probate, Trust and estate administration process.
I am Essex County 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, my Essex County estate planning attorneys law firm offers top-drawer legal services coupled with affordable fees.
As we get older, we wonder: “What will become of all the stuff I’ve accumulated in life?” My clients know which assets they want to go to whom, but their initial concern is “How can I be confident this asset will actually go to that person?” And that’s what estate planning is all about.
Over the years I’ve had family, friends, and associates in my circles with all sorts of neat stuff. There’s the Family home, generally, but there are many other things that need specific instructions and consideration when one is thinking of their legacy and how to best bless their loved ones. Some examples that come to minds are vacation properties, car collections, gun collections, grandpa’s coin or stamp collection, treasured artwork, a vintage Corvette, and that crazy-mad, overpowered center console fishing boat with three 300-HP outboards.
Essex County Estate Planning, Wills Trusts, and Probate lawyer, Michael J. Hurley, delivers top-drawer estate planning, trust, and probate services centered around what is important to people: their family and everything they’ve worked for.
You will meet exclusively with me! At my Essex County estate planning attorney law firm, 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.
Here is a lawsuit in California, an estate planning colleague was talking about recently:
“Nowhere in the company’s manual do defendants explain that using LegalZoom is not the same as using an attorney and that its documents are only ‘customized’ to the extent that the LegalZoom computer program inputs your name and identifying information, but not tailored to your specific circumstances,” the lawsuit states, adding that “the customer service representatives are not lawyers and cannot by law provide legal advice.”
“LegalZoom preys on people when they’re at their most vulnerable, when they are of advanced age or poor health and need a will or a living trust,” adds San Francisco elder abuse attorney Kathryn Stebner, Ms. Webster’s lead counsel.”
Together, in my Boston or North Andover office or in your home, we will begin to create an estate plan. 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.
At our second meeting we will carefully review your documents. 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 “Essex County MA 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.
Don’t allow the Massachuettes Probate Court and Probate judges and government bureaucrats to intervene! If you don’t make a Will or Estate Plan, the County of Essex County, for 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 with me, your Greater Boston area estate planning Lawyer, Michael J. Hurley.
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. As your Boston estate planning attorney, 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 Lawyers
As your Essex County Massachusetts estate planning lawyer, I counsel and assist Essex County MA residents in creating tailored estate plans for the transition of their assets to selected beneficiaries. Beneficiaries typically include spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, and charities. My Boston area estate planning law practice offers expert estate planning and other legal services, at affordable fees.
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 Contests — When would-be beneficiaries are wrongfully disinherited from estate.
- 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 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 Essex County Living Will 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 chose 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 of 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.
We are experienced Essex County Massachusetts Will Contest Attorneys. We can help you contest a Will that may have been altered recently by someone using ‘undue influence’ or outright fraud. We can also help you dispute ongoing Probate proceedings. If your parents’ home (your rightful inheritance) is listed for sale, we 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 it. You pass away unexpectedly. You know all the emotional trauma an unexpected death causes. 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.
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 experienced Boston area estate planning attorneys, we 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.”
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