Wills, Trusts & Estates
Why You Need a New Will and an Attorney to Help You
In July 2012, our state adopted the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code. Changes in phrases you may never have heard of -- such as per stirpes or by right of representation -- or the lack of those phrases could completely change how you wanted your property to be given to your beneficiaries.
Changes in this code could make a difference in how you want your assets to be inherited. The new code can even impact what percentages you want your chosen beneficiaries to inherit.
Do your loved ones a favor ~
ensure that your wishes are properly protected
and handled the way you want them to be.
Do I need a Trust
Trusts serve a variety of purposes and come in many forms. In short, they are legal arrangements used to hold some type of asset for the benefit of another party who is known as a beneficiary.
Trusts can be used as an inheritance tool allowing property to pass to a beneficiary outside of the probate court. By this I mean that there is less procedural steps.
Trusts can also be used to hold real estate (you may have heard of a Nominee Trust).
Another common form of a trust is one that is used to ensure that property is safeguarded for a child.
These are just a few forms of the most common trusts.
Trusts may be altered (revocable) and some cannot be altered (irrevocable).
In July 2012, the state also adopted the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code. As our new statutes are being understood and interpreted by the courts, it is important that you have an attorney who is staying on top of the evolving landscape.
Is a Will Enough
In short, NO, a Will is not enough. At a minimum, your estate plan should have at least the following documents:
Last Will and Testament
Power of Attorney
Health Care Proxy
A Power of Attorney is required so that someone can act in your place in the event of your incapacity. Think about it, if something happens to you rendering you unable to manage your affairs for a temporary basis, who will handle them and what authority will that person have to gain access to your information? That is why you need a power of attorney.
A Health Care Proxy gives a named individual the right to make medical decisions for you. Many times we are asked to sign a Health Care Proxy when we are undergoing a medical procedure and that document gets only a quick before it is signed. Many times the document remains at the hospital. It makes sense to have a comprehensive Health Care Proxy that fully identifies your wishes.
A HIPAA release is a document that gives your permission to a health care provider to release your records. Your family will need this just in case there is a medical malpractice case as a result of your death or misdiagnosis.
I am already keeping up with these new codes,
and would be happy to help you with your will and trusts.
Other occasions to consult an attorney
when you want to create or change your will
when you have minor children
when you are approaching retirement
when your will has not been revised for at least 5 years
Whenever there are big changes in your family, your livelihood, or your stage of life, it's smart check with a lawyer about protecting yourself and your loved ones as much as the law allows.
I'd be pleased to be your family lawyer.
Lyn T. Arcari