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Massachusetts Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Parents gave 2nd home to son. Only in his name for 2yrs now but lived there for over 10. Can he sell it?

His parents are in their late 70s and they were concerned that there was a five-year hold due to Medicaid if they ever went to a nursing home. But his parents still live in their 1st home.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 4, 2019

He can sell it, legally, because it is his. However, a reason for waiting 5 years would be to preserve the ability to maybe cure the gift in case the parents need to apply for Medicaid within that 5 year period. In some states the gift penalty can be avoided by gifting the property back, in this... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Health Care Law for Massachusetts on
Q: What is a special needs trust?

I am legally blind and my husband needs to go into a nursing home due to a stroke. We own our house, Is there any way we can use the equity to pay nursing home costs. I am 86; he is 87

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 13, 2019

You REALLY should schedule a consultation with an elder law attorney. You might be eligible to have the government pay for his nursing home costs WITHOUT having to sell the house.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Aunt died with assets not transferred to living trust

How do I probate some stock certificates we came across in my aunt's name that she never transferred to her trust. Since the value is about $20k can I file a voluntary administration probate since that's all that is left to deal with? The rest of her assets were covered in the living trust. I am... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Nov 8, 2019

Yes, a Voluntary Statement should suffice. There is notice to the estate recovery unit and the form seeks asset information and whether there is a will, etc. You will also need a death certificate for filing and the filing fee.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I need to open an account for my dads estate what do I file in court a informal or formal?
Timothy E. Angley
Timothy E. Angley answered on Nov 7, 2019

Hi,

Formal or Informal can depend on a few different factors. Did your father leave a Will? Did the Will allow an executor to sell real estate (if there is any) and did your father reside in Massachusetts or did he reside elsewhere? I often advise toward Formal because that eliminates the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: my sister and I are 50/50 heirs what happens if we both want the same asset listed in the will?

she is the executor and I requested to purchase my dads car which is part of the estate but she advised she was taking it - do I have any claim on it?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Nov 5, 2019

The Personal Representative has an obligation to maximize the estate and not to self-deal, so she would need to demonstrate that whatever commission for her work as Personal Representative is worth the equivalent of half of the fair market value of the vehicle. If this is an expensive vehicle this... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Ex-husband died, we had 2 kids. His live in girlfriend put all of his assets in storage & claiming they were hers.

We all live in MA, we had twin daughters who are 17 & will be 18 in Feb. He had no children with his girlfriend who lived with him. He definitely had less than $25,000 worth of assets & no will. He had a camper/rv that I was told she transferred the title to herself after his death & she put most... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 13, 2019

You really need to hire an attorney to help you with this. Even if he had a will that left everything to the girlfriend, you at least can make a claim for the unpaid child support. If he did not have a will then most likely his children should get everything.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Is the executor required to notify beneficiaries of what is happening with the estate?

My father passed away 3/2018, and the executor of my dad's estate is my estranged sister. So far, instead of contacting her, I have called the law office for the case to get updates. But for several months now, it appears that my sister has instructed them to not even answer the phone when I call.... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 9, 2019

Hire a local probate attorney to look at the file for you and bring you up to date. The attorney can also file for you a request to receive notice of proceedings.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can remainderman living in home 5 years as a care giver get the capital gains exemption if house is sold prior to death

I am a remainderman on my mom's life estate. She sold the house to my brother and I 17 years ago for $1 and kept a life estate. I have lived here for 5 years as her caregiver until she went into a nursing home. We have to sell the house prior to her passing because we can't keep it. So, if it... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 24, 2019

Yes, the Section 121 capital gains exclusion applies to remainder interests. Here is an excerpt from that statute:

(8) Sales of remainder interests For purposes of this section—

(A) In general

At the election of the taxpayer, this section shall not fail to apply to...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My parents reside in Tennessee and my father passed away a few months ago. My mom started to work with a lawyer...

I live in the Northeast and have struggled to ensure that she is handling financial matters without issue. We had tremendous difficulty understanding what my father had set up financially. Took a while to find the will also. She started working with a lawyer to update her will that had not been... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 18, 2019

Do you have agency under the power of attorney? - if so then you can act on her behalf id you have possession of same. Otherwise you will need a Tennessee attorney who specializes in conservatorships to have yourself appointed as such or at least to advise you on what your options are.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Thank you for this service. I am one of 3 beneficiaries mentioned in an irrevocable trust. The others are "trustees".
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 27, 2019

Hello, Yes, I would need to review the instrument and are you indicating that you believe self-dealing is occurring with the co-trustee?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My mother is in assisted living and she has an annuity that she has been using to pay for the assisted living.

Is there a way to protect the money that remains in her annuity?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 1, 2019

It is impossible tip answer your question without reviewing the annuity contract but very likely on her death the remainder will have to be used to reimburse Medicaid.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I live in MA, my father who presided in AZ passed away a few weeks ago

My father was married to a woman who he shared no children and my sister and I were a previous marriage. He left no will. How do My sister and I protect our inheritance rights? The wife was hesitant to give us a photo album from our childhood never mind our inheritance. Is there some sort of way to... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 12, 2019

This is an Arizona case if your father resided there and you should therefore contact a Probate attorney in that area.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: As executor, can I put money I have inherited from a retirement account/insurance policy of the deceased to pay debt?

Money is owed to family member for having paid bills but was not paid back prior to the death of the person who owed the money. There is proof this money is owed. There is not enough cash in the estate to pay back the money.

Michael Monteforte
Michael Monteforte answered on Jul 8, 2019

I think that a little more info is needed here, but wanted to give you some basics. First, the estate has to pay valid claims so long as there is money to do so. BUT, if you inherited funds from the deceased and those funds were not part of the estate (in other words, you were named as a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Health Care Law and Social Security for Massachusetts on
Q: How will equity from sale of a house affect govt asst. programs like ssdi, medicare, masshealth, food stamps, housing?

Yes I am disabled, on hemodialysis, and get palliative care services. My house will be closing on Wednesday. I will be getting about $150,000 (that's the gain). What federal/state assistance programs will be affected by this gain of money? Is there any legal way around it or to avoid losing the... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on May 21, 2019

You have not stated whether you are disabled . If so, there is a special needs trust you can explore.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My full story is below.

My Grandfather passed away on 12/23/18, and had a Merrill Lynch investment account with 3 beneficiary's. My mother, and her two siblings. My mother passed away two months before him,on 10/9/18. The remaining 2 beneficiary's have since split the account 2 ways, and cut my deceased mother, ( and... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 21, 2019

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Estate Planning and Insurance Bad Faith for Massachusetts on
Q: Is there recourse for being wrongly denied life insurance?

I was denied life insurance because they stated I was in an alcohol rehab center. I have never had any issues with alcohol or drugs and have never been in a rahab center

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Mar 18, 2019

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My husband died in 2010. In MA, what forms do I use to start the probate process now? All for death after '12
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 26, 2019

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
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...

She used mine and my mother's name multiple times and her image but then did NOT use me (her only child and legal heir) as the beneficiary. She used my aunt, who disagrees with me on what to do with my Mom’s remains. I signed a contract with the funeral home and they said that they would be... Read more »

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Jan 24, 2019

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Asking for a friend

I have a friend who is about to under go surgery. She fears that by chance she does not make it and has written instructions not to allow custody to the father bc he is abusive and not much of father? They were never married, hes never stayed in the kids like no longer ther 6months, after that he... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 4, 2018

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... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I need some guidance on interpreting verbiage in a Massachusetts last will and testament.

How are disbursement’s made between Husband and Persons 1, 2, & 3?:

“I give, devise and bequeath all my estate, real, personal and mixed and whatever situated, including all property which I may acquire or become entitled to after the execution of this will, and all lapsed legacies and... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 25, 2018

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... Read more »

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