Elder Law News

MA Probate Laws set to Change in 2012-What you need to know!

On January 1, 2012, the new Uniform Probate Code will go into effect. If you have ever had to navigate the Probate Court system after a loved one passed away, you know how tedious, time consuming and expensive the process is. The changes in the law are geared to make things simpler for families with simple situations (where there are no family or creditor conflicts to complicate your case).

  • Less Complicated: the Probate Court's involvement will be substantially less.
  • Speedier Authority: The Probate Court can appoint a Personal Representative (known as an Executor under the old law) much faster to administer the Estate.
  • Speedier Inheritances: Beneficiaries will receive inheritances faster than before.
  • Improved Privacy: If there is no conflict among family members, the Probate Court will no longer require the Estate to publicly disclose detailed financial information, though the Estate must still provide that information to heirs and creditors.

    Important Notes:

    • Many cases aren't simple: Everyone knows that when people die, money becomes an issue and family relationships become anything but simple. As a result, many probate cases will not enjoy the potential improvements offered by the new law.
    • What can make an Estate complex?: Estate tax issues, divorces, remarriages, lost heirs, children from multiple marriages, sibling rivalries, creditor claims and run-of-the-mill family conflicts have the potential to dramatically slow down the probate and dramatically increase your probate costs. Why take that chance?

    How You Can Avoid the Probate Court Entirely

    Why take that chance that your Estate might not qualify as a simple Estate upon your death? Taking action today can result in the certainty that your Estate entirely avoids the Probate Court.

    No Court = Lower Costs & Speedier Administration & Greater Privacy. Ask us about our "No Probate" Guarantee!

    If you are concerned about your parents or grandparents, encourage them to secure the peace of mind they deserve for their sake . . . and your sake.

    Contact Curley Law Firm LLP today so that we can advise you of your options to avoid Probate entirely, protect your financial privacy from predators, and protect your children's inheritances against the risks of divorce or creditors.

    What if You are Already Faced with a Probate?

    If someone has already passed away and you are named as an Executor or a Personal Representative, contact us so that we can help you navigate the Probate process as quickly, efficiently, and cheaply as permitted by the law.

    Contact Us: If you have questions about a probate or need help, please contact us Curley Law Firm LLP by clicking here.

    EVERY Homeowner Now Protected for $125k by New Homestead Act!

    The newly-amended Homestead Act went into effect on March 16, 2011. The new law offers great benefits to MA homeowners.
    Here are the key benefits:

    • Automatic Protection up to $125k: Every homeowner will now have automatic homestead protection-that is protection of up to $125,000 of the equity in their primary residence. This can help protect your home against lawsuit plaintiffs and creditors - but it offers no protection against your mortgage company or Medicaid (more on that below).
    • Potential to Increase Protection up to $500k: By recording a Homestead Form at the appropriate Registry of Deeds, a homeowner can increase their homestead protection from the automatic $125,000 to a full $500,000 of their equity in their home.
    • New Protection for Trusts: For the first time, homes held in trust can enjoy the benefits of Homestead protections. But to qualify, the homeowner must record a Homestead and an affidavit confirming certain Trust information.
    • Existing Homestead Declarations remain effective: Anyone who has already recorded a valid Homestead Declaration is already protected for up to $500,000.

    We are especially pleased to see Homestead benefits clearly extended to Trusts as many of our clients use Trusts to avoid Probate, eliminate estate taxes, and to achieve other Estate Planning objectives.

    How will the New Homestead Law impact you?

    Ultimately, without a careful analysis by a qualified attorney, it is very difficult to confirm whether you have recorded a valid Homestead or to confirm what action you need to take today to maximize your protection under the law.

    If you own a primary residence in MA, we encourage you to contact us for a consultation to ensure you enjoy the maximum protection available under the law today.

    Important Note: Unfortunately, a Homestead Declaration will NOT protect your home against Medicaid. If you are concerned about the possibility that you or a spouse might require nursing home care in the future, you cannot afford to rely solely on a Homestead Declaration to achieve your asset protection goals. Contact us to schedule an "asset protection" consultation.

    Contact Us: If you have questions about filing a declaration, reviewing an existing declaration to make sure it is valid, or protecting the equity in your home, please contact Curley Law Firm LLP by clicking here.