Massachusetts Estate Planning Questions & Answers

Q: My full story is below.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Mar 21, 2019
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
It depends upon how the beneficiary desigination reads-does it list the 3 persons as joint tenants with the right of survivorship? Or as beneficiaries in common or does it list further contingent beneficiairies.

Q: Is there recourse for being wrongly denied life insurance?

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Estate Planning and Insurance Bad Faith for Massachusetts on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Timur Akpinar's answer
One option is to seek insurance through a different carrier. If you need insurance and wish to avoid delays in obtaining coverage, valuable time could be lost in pressing the issue with the original carrier.

Tim Akpinar

Q: My husband died in 2010. In MA, what forms do I use to start the probate process now? All for death after '12

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Feb 26, 2019
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
The form set is for Formal Probate and the documentation to file is the same as for post March 31, 2012 deaths although the law on who is an heir or devisee is different.

Q: My mom passed away, and my cousin said she’d help by making a gofundme to help me pay for the expenses of her affairs...

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
Have you opened a Probate matter in Court to deal with these burial and other inheritance issues? See: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/probate-and-family-court. It's a good idea to hire an attorney to navigate these issues along with any issues re: the validity of the charitable donations, the funeral home expenses, and the money held by your aunt re: the services. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an...

Q: Asking for a friend

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Sep 4, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
She should at least have a Will nominating a guardian for the minor children. The best route would be to also have a Guardianship petition or at least temporary guardianship addressed by the Court taking into consideration his unsuitability as a custodial parent as being not in the children's best interests.

Q: I need some guidance on interpreting verbiage in a Massachusetts last will and testament.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jul 25, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
Looks like a helpful comma was missing and if so and husband survives, then he receives except for any property of which the testator had power of appointment, and not the others unless husband fails to survive the testator. Otherwise its a trip to Court for a "declaration" to be made by the Probate Court through a Complaint for declaratory relief or possibly a Complete Settlement petition-but why wait to the end to be met with a potential weird finding.

Q: Can you set up a trust for a pet? A friend is trying to make sure his pets are taken care of.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jun 15, 2018
Peter C Herbst Jr's answer
Since 2011, Massachusetts has allowed for the recognition of pet trusts. Your friend will need to think of the appropriate caretaker for the pets but the pet trust can allow for financial funding of the pet's needs. As with any trust, your friend want to make sure it is integrated with his estate planning to make sure the trust is funded the way he intends it after he passes away.

Q: When I pass are my children responsible for any bills left behind like visa or master chg.etc.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on May 31, 2018
Christopher Tolley's answer
Your children will not likely be personally responsible for these bills, but if there are any assets in your estate like real property, bank accounts, etc., your creditors have a right to pursue your estate and seek recovery from those assets. The effect of this may be that your children's share of your estate is diminished. If you don't already have an estate plan, you should see a lawyer because you may be able to minimize creditor's ability to reach your assets after you pass. I don't do...

Q: I have a vacation house in Florida. To put it in a trust would I do so under Florida law or Massachussetts?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on May 22, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
There may be good reasons to do one over the other depending on the circumstances and your needs.

Q: My father died recently; I am a beneficiary. My sister opened an estate account with her as executor, leaving me out.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Apr 10, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
In order to open an estate account at a bank your sister would have had to present the bank with the papers from the court that appointed her personal representative. The bank is required to follow what the court papers say as far as who is personal representative of the estate and therefore authorized to open an access an account for the estate. If what you say is true you should follow up with both the bank and the court to enforce your rights.

Q: My father passed away and did not list me his will his only child..his spouse died 4 months later no other children.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Apr 4, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
Were you unborn when the will was created? Or was this an uncertain paternity situation where father may not have known you were his child ?When was the will created? What were the circumstances surrounding will execution? Were you properly noticed of the probate proceedings? were they in Massachusetts? How long ago did father die? You should meet with a probate attorney to go over these facts as soon as possible.

Q: whats the best way to say i came of my own free will to a lawyer

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Mar 27, 2018
Jonathan R. Roth's answer
The statement is I am signing this document of my own free will. It is a statement you make in front of witnesses and notaries.

Q: How many people do I need to witness a will?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Mar 21, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Two witnesses and one notary, none of whom can be named in the will.

Q: Bank won't accept will and certified voluntary administration, wants Estate Tax ID

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Feb 5, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
You will need a federal tax payer ID to liquidate the bank account and motor vehicle. You can discuss with your tax preparer or accountant whether or not you need to file fiduciary tax returns , but you would also need to file the tax returns for the last year of the decedent's life and there could be a refund as well, so address these concerns with the tax preparer or accountant you use.

Q: As executor of estate, can I start an estate account ? I have the TIN number.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Feb 2, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
You also need your appointment letter along with the Tax payer ID #

Q: Do I have to allow the lawyer to take the estate funds or can I create an estate account myself, is there a law?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Consumer Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Feb 2, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
You would be setting up an estate bank account with an estate tax payer ID and you can arrange to have the attorney copied with bank statements.

Q: My uncle passed away and is there a certain length of time for the attorney handling the estate to file the paperwork

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 25, 2018
Terry Lynn Garrett's answer
The limit would be a limit imposed by Massachusetts law and Massachusetts bar rules of professional conduct.

Q: I have been married 40 yrs this year. I am on SSDI. We had to sell the family home in 2006.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 23, 2018
Jonathan R. Roth's answer
Assuming your wife is still living, then no you have no direct ownership rights save as to perhaps your limited rights under CHAPTER 189 DOWER AND CURTESY. If the property is titled as joint tenants and your wife predeceases you, then you probably have no rights. if the property is owned at tenants in common, then you would have a statutory right to inherit at least half of her interest in the property under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code or more if you have no living children. I would...

Q: How can I bring my grandmother, who resides in Puerto Rico, against her will and her husbands will to the United States?

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 19, 2018
Lillian J. LaRosa's answer
You will need to engage an attorney who practices elder l;aw/guardianship in Puerto Rico and you likely will have to attend court there to obtain guardianship with authority to move her to Massachusetts. This is really a Puerto Rican law question.

Q: Will my step-mom receive all of my dad’s assets & life insurance if he dies before her without a will? Can I contest?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jan 15, 2018
Jonathan R. Roth's answer
If there is no Will, your father's estate will be divided 50% to your step mother and 50% to you and your siblings. However, as I recall the first $200K goes to the spouse before the division. However, things held in a joint account will go directly to your step-mother as they are not part of the estate.

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