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Massachusetts Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Realty Trust and/or Family Trust?

My wife and I have 1 single home jointly owned, and a 2-unit rental in my name only (had it since before marriage). We agreed, since we have no kids, after we’re gone, our inheritance goes to my nephews and niece. Wills have been drawn up, if I go first she gets all, the same if she goes first... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 19, 2021

This is a very common concern and there are definitely ways to solve this problem, but this is not a do-it-yourself project. You should hire an estate planning attorney to help you with this. The attorney will explain to you the pros and cons of the various solutions.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a ‘use and occupancy right’ in a will entitle the beneficiary to also maintain all items in the residence?

Or would the items be a part of the remaining trust property and be distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust? Items in question are furnishings, paintings, clothing, family photos and jewelry. There is no memorandum in the will with these items.

Frederick Lewis Stoker III
Frederick Lewis Stoker III answered on Feb 12, 2021

Your question is confusing, the "'use and occupancy right' in the will" and a reference to "trust property" implies that there may have been a testamentary trust established. The items within the residence that are not "fixtures" are governed by the will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I live in MA , my husband died last year, left no will, house in his name only and we have 2 adult children that’s all.

How do I proceed to put house in my name so I may legally sell?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 1, 2021

If all of the children are of your marriage to him or are yours and his, then you take all of the estate. However, you will need to commence an estate in the Norfolk Probate Court if that is the residence county and seek appointment as Personal Representative and notify MassHealth Estate Recovery... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Property was owned as follows, Mother’s Estate 50%, two daughters 25% each. One daughter paid expenses of home from

Date Mother passed until sale as other daughter refused to sign sale papers if expenses were reimbursed. Expenses were placed in escrow until agreement made. A small claim suit was filed to force release of escrow, but a counter suit was filed for financial and emotional distress. What type of... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jan 31, 2021

A Massachusetts attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. As a GENERAL matter, there is a tort law cause of action called intentional infliction of emotional distress - but this sounds like it might be something more along the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My mothers name on the deed to my grandfather's house but his will says its left to me

Would the house still fall under part of his estate

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 20, 2021

While it appears that If the title to the real estate was not in grandfather's name then he already transferred it to your mother and thus does not appear to be in grandfather's estate, but were there other facts??? This question is Not susceptible to a black and white answer without... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My spouse's dad passed away in May and the estate is being questioned by my wife and her 3 siblings.

My spouse refuses to tell me anything and has also told her lawyer to tell her siblings tell me nothing about what is going on. My question what rights do I have to be included in the outcome of the estate distribution among my wife and her siblings ?

Anthony C. Adamopoulos
Anthony C. Adamopoulos answered on Dec 29, 2020

Your question: "My question what rights do I have to be included in the outcome of the estate distribution among my wife and her siblings ?"

Based only on what you write, none.

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: "Will" probated in 2017 norfolk county MA. Wife terminated their estate lawyer to stealing/hiding funds. What to do?

Eldest child 30 yr long criminal h/o not involved in family started coming around. Slowly manipulated mother english only spoken reading minimal. Began causing conflict against the youngest. Identity theft other crime reason father clear to keep eldest away knew she would steal money if gained... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 15, 2020

If you do not have a statute of limitations problem since this case goes back to 2017, you must immediately retain an estate litigation attorney. A general legal Q&A forum like this one cannot give you the help you need.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I know if my recently deceased father left me moneys or property's? Neither his wife or daughter wont discuss it
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Oct 20, 2020

Assuming the decedent was a Massachusetts resident for this response- this would seem to be an easy question, but oddly it is not. As the child of the deceased you would need to be notified whether there is a Probate Petition filed regardless of whether there is no Will or If there is a Will and... Read more »

Q: What is CDC eviction meant for MA state ? Can someone explain to me ?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 5, 2020

The CDC moratorium forbids landlords from attempting to evict tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenants meet certain financial hardship guidelines:

- Make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if they file a joint tax return)

- Be unable to make full rent “due to substantial loss of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I protect my family assets from my potentially expensive medical costs?

I am a 53 year old male who has acquired over $1 million dollars so far in net assets. $700k retirement and $400k home equity. I am still working and will for another 10 years and currently max out my retirement.

I have life insurance while working but I developed a serious cardiac... Read more »

Joanne Belasco
Joanne Belasco answered on Sep 3, 2020

There are several options that can help protect your family. You not only want to think about your medical expenses but also estate taxes because your assets appear to be over the $1 million estate tax exemption. This situation is one that you would be better discussing with an estate planning... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a durable POA need to be registered with the county in MA? My FIL was just diagnosed with mid-stage dementia.

My husband is Durable POA, we need to get my FIL into more suitable housing (without stairs) and found a place, and plan to use a HELOC on his current residence (free and clear) to finance about 25% of the purchase. Then once he’s transitioned we will sell the current residence which will... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 19, 2020

Your question was very confusing but you seem to be asking how to determine if the power of attorney instrument was recorded in the Registry of Deeds? If so, there is a public records check system on line through the Secretary of State's Office. If the document was not recorded it can be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Our father didn’t have a Will - we were putting the house up for sale and now found out he owes over 100000 in medical

Bills to the state for long term facility care which he was never in one how do we go around this? It’s been impossible to get a straight answer from any attorney so far -

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 18, 2020

Regardless of whether there was a Will or not the Division of Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Unit has an automatic lien at the elderly recipient of MassHealth/Medicaid services death on the decedents assets. The Estate Recovery Unit can open an estate to recover the lien for said services ,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a housebound bank account holder let me log in on their behalf to initiate transfers?

My father died with a bank account with the name of an ex-fiancee still on it as a joint holder. She hasn't ever used the account as far as I can tell. She (and her current husband) want the money in the account to go to myself and my sister. Unfortunately she doesn't have an online login... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 6, 2020

Assuming your father was a Massachusetts resident for the comments: Are you the Personal Representative of your father's estate? If so, you need to contact the bank involved and provide them with your Letter of Authority and Federal Taxpayer ID for the estate and some form of authorization by... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: If my husband acquires material property from a parent, can he now put those items in a trust without naming me in it?

I am afraid my husband will leave me out of his trust due to the acquisition of property he and his sister just inherited from his father due to his death.

Joanne Belasco
Joanne Belasco answered on Aug 3, 2020

A spouse can create a trust for him or herself without including the other spouse in it as long as that property belongs only to that person. If a husband inherits property he may create his own trust unless there was a stipulation with the inheritance that he had to include his wife as a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My mom passed on 1-8-20. She left a detailed will including myself, her only daughter, my 3 children and their 5 kids.

It's over 40 pages of legal writing I do not understand and haven't heard a word from either her husband my stepfather, or the trustee The woman who is co trustee, and drew up the will. It's a wealthy will. I need to know what my rights are and what were entitled to if anything. Can... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 4, 2020

It is not possible to tell you what your rights are under the will without reviewing the will. Take the will to a probate attorney in your area for review and advice. Most likely a probate (court) case will need to be commenced to administer the terms of the will.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: My brother died during the recent endemic.His ex wife did not want me speaking to him while he was hospitalized.

She called to say she is his sole heir.

How do I find out if this is legit?

He lived in CT.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 22, 2020

If your brother did not have a will, then her statement is not legitimate. If your brother had a will made after he divorced her, then it is theoretically possible (but in my experience not likely).

It sounds like you are the next of kin. You can hire a probate attorney to open a...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a beneficiary of a trust fund become the trustee if the current trustee resigns or is in breach of trust?
Timothy E. Angley
Timothy E. Angley answered on Mar 2, 2020

A beneficiary can become the Trustee if the Trust allows for such an occurrence. One would want to have a new Beneficiary of the Trust and/or a new Trustee appointed as soon as possible because you don't want the Trust to have the same Trustee and Beneficiary if it can be avoided.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I ensure that my young child will receive my assets upon death? I have named her as beneficiary on all accounts

I'm a single parent, the father is inconsistently involved and I unfortunately cannot trust him. I would prefer not to grant access to monetary accounts, at least not until I pass away. I'm wondering if I can just name a person to oversee these accounts in my will until my child is of age... Read more »

Joanne Belasco
Joanne Belasco answered on Mar 2, 2020

I can't answer your specific question because we don't have an attorney-client relationship. Generally speaking, I suggest that someone who has children and is worried about any kind of access to the money should consider a trust as a way to have better control over how the money is spent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I need to claim a retirement plan in mass but my mom lived in florida when she passed how do I do this

the retirement plan is in mass and she passed away in florida in a nursing home I am the only remaining family member. mass told me to file a small estate affidavit I am not sure how to go about any of this

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 11, 2019

If you are the named death beneficiary of the retirement plan, then all you need to do is provide a death certificate to the plan administrator. If you don't know if you are the named death beneficiary, provide a copy of the death certificate to the plan administrator anyway. That will get... Read more »

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 »

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