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Wakefield Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Estate issues following the loss of a loved one

Losing a loved one can make daily life very challenging or even seem unbearable. Entire families may be overwhelmed with emotional pain and other hardships that surface in the wake of a loved one's passing, such as financial difficulties and estate matters. Whether you are the executor of your loved one's estate or you are a beneficiary, this may be a difficult time. However, it is critical for you to make sure that you properly handle any responsibilities you have and do what you can to make this tough time a little bit easier.

Sometimes, people may feel a sense of hopelessness or serious emotional pain after their spouse or parent passes away. Unfortunately, this can get in the way of responsibilities such as managing an estate, distributing assets and other responsibilities that some people have. Moreover, disputes over any number of issues may pop up and sometimes they involve family members, which can place even more emotional strain on a family that has lost someone close.

Reversing legal guardianship

We have written about some of the reasons for guardianship, such as an adult who is struggling with a mental handicap which leaves them unable to take care of themselves. Guardianship is a great way for people who are unable to care for themselves to receive the support they need on a regular basis, but there may be times when a particular guardian is no longer providing someone with the level of care they deserve. Becoming a legal guardian is an important responsibility, and some people are not ready to handle these duties.

If you are worried about the welfare of your loved one and want to reverse legal guardianship, it is crucial to take a careful approach and be prepared to prove to the court that such an action would be in the best interests of the ward. You should be aware of all your options and you should also think about potential complications that could arise. Unfortunately, many wards have been mistreated or have suffered because their guardian failed to take care of them properly. Moreover, there are times when a guardian may no longer be able to provide his or her ward with proper care because they have become mentally or physically incapacitated themselves.

How to afford nursing home care

A part of estate planning is considering the cost of long-term medical care, such as for a nursing home or in-home assistance. It is unwise to bank on family and friends being able to take care of you when the time comes. Even if loved ones express willingness now, circumstances can change that make them no longer able to become your caregivers.

However, you likely have concerns about the high price of assisted living. You cannot afford the expensive facilities, but you fear to go to a less expensive one and receiving substandard care because of issues with understaffing. What do you do to make quality care more affordable?

Will revision and changes in the family

There are a number of reasons why you may need to go over your will again, such as the loss of someone you love or filing for a divorce. If you are considering bringing your marriage to an end, or if you have already completed the divorce process, it is crucial to make sure that you do not overlook any necessary revisions to your will. Outside of divorce, there are other significant changes that may occur in your life involving your loved ones, and it is important to be aware of how these changes could affect your will.

Sometimes, people marry someone else after splitting up with their previous spouse. Marrying a new person can also necessitate revisions to a will, so it is vital to take this into consideration if you are planning on remarrying after a divorce. For example, you may have stepchildren you wish to include in your will. Moreover, there are other life changes involving family members, such as the birth of a grandchild, which may prompt you to revise your will.

Reasons to name a power of attorney

We have gone over many different decisions that people make with regard to their estate and in this post, we will take a closer look at naming a power of attorney. There are a variety of reasons why you may come to the conclusion that this is the right option for you. For example, you could be struggling with a health issue that will leave you unable to handle important affairs. Our law office knows how essential it is for people in Wakefield and across the rest of Massachusetts to ensure that their affairs are properly managed in the event that an unexpected crisis arises or a health problem renders someone incapable of these duties.

When someone is given power of attorney responsibilities, they may be in charge of another person's investments, bank transactions, taxes, bills or insurance. Even if you are fully capable of handling these responsibilities on your own, you could want to have peace of mind knowing that you have an agent to handle your affairs in the event that you become incompetent or incapacitated for any reason. On the other hand, you may know that in the not-too-distant future you will not be able to take care of these responsibilities. Either way, a power of attorney could be the lifeline that you are counting on.

Putting real estate into a trust: Is it worth it?

A living trust is an estate planning document that many Wakefield residents use to place their assets into a trust for their own benefit while they are still alive. Upon a trustee's death, or should a trustee become disabled, the assets within the trust transfer to his or her beneficiaries. The purposes of a trust are many, but the main reason that individuals opt to use trusts instead of wills is to avoid probate and all its costs.

According to Bankrate, trustee fees typically only amount to about one percent of total asset value. Compare that to a state's executor fee schedule, which typically looks something like the following:

  •       5 percent on the first $100,000 in assets
  •       4 percent on assets totaling $100,000 to $200,000
  •       3 percent on assets totaling $200,000 to $700,000
  •       2.5 percent on assets of up to $4 million

Cryptocurrency investments and estate plans

When people decide to set up an estate plan, there are many different assets they may have to review. In the digital age, this may include cryptocurrency investments, for some people. As with any other type of investment, it is essential to make sure that these assets are handled appropriately in the event that you pass away. Moreover, special considerations may be necessary due to the unique nature of cryptocurrency investments. The Curley Law Firm knows how important it is for investors across the state of Massachusetts to protect their assets and ensure the proper distribution of these funds among loved ones.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, some people may not have a firm grasp of how these investments work. As a result, you may wish to pass down these assets to someone who has a solid understanding of cryptocurrency. Moreover, the value of these investments can fluctuate tremendously. Whether you have already secured a significant amount of money due to lucrative investments or you see the value of your crypto investments drop significantly, these issues may also need to be taken into consideration with respect to your estate plan.

Becoming the voluntary administrator of your loved one's estate

At Curley Law Firm LLP, we understand that the Massachusetts laws regarding the estate of a person who died without a will can seem complex. If your loved one did not designate someone to take care of his or her financial and personal property, the responsibilities of probate administration fall to the spouse. However, you may want to step in and take care of these responsibilities to lessen the stress for the spouse during this time of grieving. 

According to Mass.gov, here is what you need to do:

How to choose the best guardian for your child

While it can be unpleasant to think about, if you have minor children it’s recommended that you name a guardian in your estate plan in the event you and your spouse are deceased. The decision to name a guardian can be difficult for many people and you may worry that you’ll alienate friends or family by the choice you make. Because the process is so challenging for many parents, Forbes offers the following advice.

Be Clear on Your Values

Prepare for an estate planning meeting by being organized

No matter how much you have in the way of assets, just the thought of setting up your estate plan will probably seem daunting. You might be surprised at how efficiently your planning session can be managed if you are well-organized going in.

Consider the elements