On May 30 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court published their decision on Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The case focused on two common estate planning techniques that elders can use to protect their homes from long-term care expenses. The decision actually applied to two combined cases, the Nadeau
Jim and Sally did everything right… or so they thought. They grew up in strong, middle class families, did well in school, and had many friends. Jim had a successful career with a local company, while Sally raised four responsible, well-adjusted children. They lived a frugal life, and saved as best they could, eventually building
Let’s face it: most people are averse to life insurance. For permanent policies, the premiums are high, and the payouts typically don’t happen until you die. Couple that with the fact that many life insurance agents are overly aggressive, promising that life insurance will bring peace to the Middle East. Still, I’ve noticed a few
The Basics The estate and gift tax is a tax on the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. The tax is levied when a transfer occurs, which by lifetime gift, or upon death. The estate and gift tax rates start low. The Massachusetts estate tax affects estates worth more than $1 million.
The holiday season is a time of great religious and economic significance. And even in our busy lives, it is a time for reflection. For many of us, the fruits of our reflection are our annual resolutions: to become healthier, to spend more time with family, to finally watch “The Wire” (or “The Walking Dead”
A colleague and I have recently devoted some time to developing a new facet of estate planning that we call “Zero Tax Planning.” The idea is simple. First, we use traditional estate planning techniques to reduce estate taxes as much as possible, while keeping assets within the family. Then, once traditional methods are exhausted, we
Does Having A Will Avoid Probate? There is a common misconception that having a valid will allows a decedent to avoid probate. This is completely false. When someone dies without a will, they are considered “intestate”. The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code includes several formulas for determining the division of assets when someone dies intestate. These
Warning: This article is very long. It feels weird to write a post in favor of taxes, but hear me out. After my last post about ways to avoid the estate tax, some friends indicated that the estate tax should be abolished altogether. While I’m no fan of taxes, they are a certainty of life,
If you are a resident of Massachusetts, and you die with more than $1 million in your “taxable estate,” then you owe a Massachusetts estate tax. The tax rate is based on a sliding scale from 0% to 16%. When you add up real estate, retirement accounts, and life insurance death benefits, many Massachusetts residents
For many people, the prospect of discussing their sensitive family and financial scenarios, in the context of their eventual death, is intimidating. Even so, estate planning is an important undertaking that responsible people should not ignore. The best way to improve the process is to find an estate planning attorney with whom you are comfortable.