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Massachusetts Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is a Irrevocable trust legally obligated to pay income taxes on monetary cash gifts it receives ?

Id like to know:

Are Irrevocable trusts legally responsible to pay income taxes on any monetary cash gifts they receive within a single calendar year or is such money gifts the trusts acquire, exempt from any taxation requirements ?

(fyi: In this particular situation the money gifts... View More

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Apr 26, 2024

At the federal level gifts are not taxable to the recipient. The gift giver might owe gift tax but that is highly unlikely to apply to such small amounts. Some states might have lower gift tax exemptions but, again, even those would be unlikely to impact such small gift amounts.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is a Irrevocable trust legally obligated to pay income taxes on monetary cash gifts it receives ?

Id like to know:

Are Irrevocable trusts legally responsible to pay income taxes on any monetary cash gifts they receive within a single calendar year or is such money gifts the trusts acquire, exempt from any taxation requirements ?

(fyi: In this particular situation the money gifts... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 27, 2024

In the United States, irrevocable trusts are generally not required to pay income taxes on monetary gifts they receive, as long as the gifts are within the annual gift tax exclusion limit. For the tax year 2024, the annual gift tax exclusion is $18,000 per recipient from each donor. This means that... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can money be gifted to a irrevocable trust ?

I have 3 questions:

1) Can money be gifted to a irrevocable trust?

If so

2) Is their a maximum amount allowed to be gifted in a certain period e.g like yearly etc?

3) Can a trustee and beneficiary to the same trust also gift money to the same trust?

Thank you

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Apr 12, 2024

Yes, money can be gifted to an irrevocable trust. However, there are some important considerations and limitations:

1. Gift tax exemption: As of 2024, an individual can gift up to $18,000 per recipient per year without triggering the need to file a gift tax return or pay gift taxes. This is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Does this clause in a irrevocable trust I am trustee to allow me the right to make trust rental income distributions?

Does this clause in a irrevocable trust I am trustee to allow me the legal right to make distributions of commercial rental income the trust produces to beneficiaries to avoid the trust paying high estate taxes on that income? Thankyou

"POWER OF TRUSTEE: To make allocations, divisions... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 2, 2024

Based on the trust clause you have provided, it does appear that as trustee you have fairly broad discretion to make distributions of trust income to beneficiaries. The language specifically gives you power as trustee to "make allocations, divisions and distributions of trust property"... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I lived with my partner, for over three years ,he came down. with stage 4 cancer . can I go after the estate .

my partner wanted me to have money to move on when he passed ,he left instructions with his only son to take care of me i had 3 months to move out ,which i did. know he want honor his fathers wishes ,he dyed in my arms in his home like he wanted and I have no closer ,can I go after his estate ,I... View More

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 2, 2024

In Massachusetts, if you were in a committed relationship with your partner for over three years and he expressed his intention for you to be taken care of after his passing, you may have legal grounds to pursue a claim against his estate. However, the success of such a claim would depend on... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Is Trustee of estate responsible for very poorly packaged figurines of some value that arrived broken to a beneficiary?

I received multiple figurines from FedEx ( I doubt the shipment was insured) as part of a Trust distribution shipped from CA to MA. It's quite obvious that the largest figurine was not packaged properly-wrong size box, minimal packaging. Also enclosed was a letter from the Trustee to be signed... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 15, 2024

In situations where a trustee is responsible for distributing assets from an estate, they generally have a duty to act with reasonable care and prudence. If the figurines were part of the trust distribution and they arrived damaged due to poor packaging, the trustee might be considered negligent in... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Is Trustee of estate responsible for very poorly packaged figurines of some value that arrived broken to a beneficiary?

I received multiple figurines from FedEx ( I doubt the shipment was insured) as part of a Trust distribution shipped from CA to MA. It's quite obvious that the largest figurine was not packaged properly-wrong size box, minimal packaging. Also enclosed was a letter from the Trustee to be signed... View More

Phil A. Taylor
Phil A. Taylor
answered on Jan 15, 2024

A trustee has a fiduciary obligation to the beneficiaries of a trust and should act at least in a reasonably prudent manner. Be sure to save ALL of the packing materials, etc. and take pictures. Notify the trustee of the issue and ask about the insurance details for the shipment. In my opinion,... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My siblings and I recently inherited our parents’ house after they died. One of my brothers wants to purchase the house.

If the house is appraised at $450,000, does my brother pay me and my other sibling ⅓ each ($150,000) or ½ each ($225,000)? Since he will be owning the house and could turn around and sell it at any time, does he also get a portion (1/3) of its value? Is that getting two bites of the proverbial... View More

Phil A. Taylor
Phil A. Taylor
answered on Jan 15, 2024

If you and your siblings each now own a 1/3 interest in the property and one sibling wants to purchase your interest and the interest of the other sibling, then the sibling would pay 2/3 of the fair market value (give or take depending on how the other costs, savings are addressed). The sibling... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Hello, my mother passed away 6/11/2023. My step dad is not saying a word but she had a will and life insurance.

I do not want to ask. I feel luke he'd say so. Shw worked 50 years for Boston Medical center. Shed always say she was leaving me this and that but i didint want to hear it. Is there a way to find out because i know my mom would wame to figure this out. I have her death certi,, ss.t

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
answered on Jul 26, 2023

A Massachusetts attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. This is not an insurance bad faith matter (the category chosen for the post). It is closer to Probate or Estate Planning. Attorneys who practice in those areas deal with wills. Not all questions get answered... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Good day, staff: A question regarding objections, please?

I'm executor for mom's estate. LENGTHY and ASCERBIC going all the way.

If the six objectors (also heirs) contest the final estate accounting and it goes to another level, who is responsible for any probate or legal fees? Does it cost the objectors or does any cost come from the... View More

Michael M Marques
Michael M Marques
answered on Jun 25, 2023

First, the interested parties must allege sufficient legal grounds to challenge the will. Sufficient grounds may include a) undue influence; b) lack of capacity; c) fraud; or d) improper execution. If those elements are met, a petition can be filed to formally contest the will. The interested... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I need to remove the backup name I put down in my POA in case my daughter is incapacitated. can I cross it out?

I have to remove the name of my alternate POA because she no longer could perform that duty, and I don't understand why that requires a $500 fee. If I scratch out the name and have a witness sign it, why would this be a problem?

Michael M Marques
Michael M Marques
answered on Jun 23, 2023

Since the power of attorney document presumably specified, by its terms, how the power of attorney and backup power of attorney would take responsibility, crossing out a name would appear to change the terms of the document. This may raise questions as to your specific intent. Clarity is key in... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I would like to know what the correct process is to transfer my house under my son. ? or the best way to do it?
Michael M Marques
Michael M Marques
answered on Jun 22, 2023

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself first. a) Do you wish to retain control over your home and the right to live in it? b) How will your estate tax amounts change with each option? c) What capital gain taxes may your son have to deal with? d) Do you wish for your son to avoid... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a trust protect my home purchased before marriage if I am to get divorced?
Michael M Marques
Michael M Marques
answered on Jun 21, 2023

There are a couple of factors to review. a) Was the home placed in a trust prior to or after the marriage? b) Is the trust revocable or irrevocable? c) Whose benefit was the trust intended for? Until recently, trusts were seen as assets when a court decided how assets were to be distributed upon... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Does IRS get notified if a house goes through probate?

If the estate puts a house through probate, but none of the estate holders want the place, as another family member owns the other 2/3, no money is exchanged. The only reason we are going through probate is to remove my grandmother's name from the deed so I can refinance my mortgage

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jun 5, 2023

You should speak to a lawyer on this because real estate has substantial value and you should obtain individualized advice.

For your convenience only, for decedents dying after 2018, there is no federal estate tax on gross estates valued at less than $11,180,000.00. There is no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I sell or cash out on a willed estate?

My grandfather passed and his wife hates me. She's made attempts to remove me from the deed since my grandfather passed.

I'm listed as a "joint tenant" on the deed. What are my options for selling or cashing out my share?

Nina Whitehurst
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answered on Apr 27, 2023

Theoretically you could sell your share, but as a practical matter nobody is going to want to buy your share and then have to share use and occupancy with the other co-owners. The practical solution is to either buy out the other co-owner(s) or have one or more of them buy out your share. If you... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Lived in parents house for 10yrs after parent passed away; Executor; sold for 150K; how much should I give sibling

97K mortgage was paid from 150K; utility, and home maintenance fees.

Mass probate

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
answered on Apr 22, 2023

From your question, I assume you and one sibling inherited the home, that you continued living in the home for ten years while your sibling did not, that you are the only one who made the payments mentioned, and that you have been an adult for the full ten years.

Determine the fair rental...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: What are steps to take with my mother's estate when she passes away with no will.

My mother and I live in Massachusetts. I have an older brother who lives in NY. My mother is 75 with failing health. My mother owns a house in NY and a house in MA. She has a couple of retirement accounts and has savings and checking accounts. She refuses to get a will. I have asked her to do this... View More

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Mar 31, 2023

Your mother appears to reside in Massachusetts and assuming that is the case she would be intestate and depending upon her marital status and whether you and your brother are the only children she has, you and brother have equal ability to file a Petition for Probate of her estate upon her death.... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I will be receiving a settlement for a suit I filed for wrongful death of my father. It was product liability. I am the

Only heir, my dad died 6 yrs ago with a will naming me sole beneficiary. They have already run complete lien checks to be sure nothing is owed to anyone. I’m going to be receiving a settlement check but they want to put check to the estate of. I called bank and they are telling me I would have to... View More

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Mar 22, 2023

It is surprising there was no Personal Rep appointment in order to proceed with the case. There is a requirement to notice the Estate Recovery Unit of a Probate Petition as there is an automatic lien for Masshealth/Medicaid benefits. Also, the size of the Estate-whether over or under $1,000,000 for... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I will be receiving a settlement for a suit I filed for wrongful death of my father. It was product liability. I am the

Only heir, my dad died 6 yrs ago with a will naming me sole beneficiary. They have already run complete lien checks to be sure nothing is owed to anyone. I’m going to be receiving a settlement check but they want to put check to the estate of. I called bank and they are telling me I would have to... View More

Paul Baker
Paul Baker
answered on Mar 22, 2023

Show your lawyer the will, in which you are named sole beneficiary. Then emphasize that the money is going to end up with you anyway, and that going thru the estate process (filing with the Probate court, advertising your appt. as executor, etc) will be a worthless (and needlessly expensive)... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My neighbor passed in 2016; before her passing she had a will which identified me as the executor of the will.

I did not act on the will because the daughter moved in and I didn't want to upset her. However, the daughter recently passed and now there are no living relatives. Is the mom's will still executable?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Mar 13, 2023

I agree that consulting an Estate attorney concerning this matter would be the route to take. A public forum can only provide some basic information. If you are in possession of the original will and were named the Executor now referred to as Personal Representative, you had a duty to move... View More

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