The Massachusetts estate tax exemption is $1 million. With good planning, couples with assets over this threshold can reduce their Massachusetts estate tax exposure by $50,000-$120,000.
Life seems to come in stages, and each life stage tends to have its own exciting opportunities and daunting challenges. As estate planning attorneys, we are privileged to work with our clients at all different stages of their lives, at points where thoughtful planning and effective execution can provide peace of mind and significant benefits down the road. We also understand that life is unpredictable, and are equally gratified to assist individuals and families who find themselves in overwhelming circumstances due to the declining health or disability of a loved one. While working with our clients, we develop genuine connections and enjoy resolving the human issues of estate planning as much as the tax ones.
Our firm serves hundreds of families in the Greater Boston area, from the North to the South Shore. Our clients are extremely diverse: they are married, single, of all ages and life stages, represent a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and own modest to significant estates.
What Does An Estate Plan Accomplish?
Talking about your death and incapacity can be challenging, but effective planning can help avoid additional heartache later on. By creating an estate plan you can
Help avoid family conflict,
Provide for your spouse, children, grandchildren, and other heirs,
Select a guardian for your minor children,
Minimize taxes (including estate, capital gains, and income tax)
Avoid unnecessary costs and delays in settling your estate,
Protect assets from creditors,
Appoint someone to make medical and financial decisions for you when you are no longer able to,
Provide for family members with special needs and disabilities, and
Leave a legacy – both to family and charities.
What’s the Process?
Many people are surprised to learn that the estate planning process is fairly painless. Here is the process we use with our clients:
Client goals and estate plan design. We meet (typically once or twice) to discuss your situation, goals, various planning opportunities and options, and come up with a plan design.
We draft your documents. This typically takes a few weeks. You will receive a big packet from us with a diagram of your plan, a list of the goals we are seeking to accomplish, and your draft documents to review.
Meeting to discuss your questions, make changes, and finalize your documents. We often do this over a phone call, but this can also be done in person.
Document signing and funding plan review. We will provide the needed witnesses and notary to properly execute your documents. We often call this a “signing party”! After you have signed your documents, we will then walk through your funding plan, to ensure your newly created plan is properly funded to carry out all the things we designed it to do. This funding plan includes updating various account ownership and beneficiary designations. This piece is as important as the documents themselves.
Regular reviews. Once your documents are in place and your funding plan has been completed, you have a well-designed plan that addresses all your goals as of the date you signed your documents. But what about a year later? Three years later? Five years later?
The problem is that life happens, things change, people get married and divorced, you receive an inheritance or have a significant change in financial circumstances, children have need needs and challenges, our health deteriorates, tax laws change, we change jobs and have a new retirement plan that needs to be incorporated into our estate plan, and the list goes on.
Good estate planning requires regular reviews. We suggest at least every five years, although we have clients who prefer this to be more often. During our review we will connect on what has changed since your documents were created and what needs to happen to ensure your goals are carried out and your estate plan is properly executed.
We’d love to meet you
Please take advantage of our website, which addresses various key planning areas. We also welcome the opportunity to speak with you, to discuss your questions, or to meet for a consultation.
385 Concord Avenue
Belmont, MA 02478 (617) 484-6610
Fax: (617) 484-0035