Common Estate Planning Questions

Dedham Estate Planning Attorney

Have you been encouraged by loved ones to create an estate plan? Are you unsure of what an estate plan is and how it can help you? Our Dedham estate planning attorneys from the Law Office of Frederick N. Pellegrini created a common questions page to assist potential clients. We understand estate planning can be confusing, which is why we have answered a few frequently asked questions.

If you have any further questions, please contact our firm.

  • Q:What Is an Estate Plan?

    A:An estate plan includes various documents that can protect you, your assets, and your loved ones. Depending on your wishes and requests, one of our Dedham estate planning attorneys can help you fund or retitle assets into trusts, create a will, establish a healthcare proxy, etc. By creating an estate plan, your assets can transfer to specific family members upon your death, ensuring that they and your assets are protected. If you have certain documents included in your estate plan, such as a healthcare proxy, someone you appoint can make healthcare-related decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

  • Q:What Is Probate?

    A:Probate is the process of transferring specific items to heirs upon an individual's death. Certain items are subject to probate; if a comprehensive estate plan was not created prior to a loved one's death, family members may have to undergo the probate process. Properties often subject to probate include money, real estate, stock shares, valuable personal property, etc.

  • Q:Can Probate Be Avoided?

    A:If a comprehensive estate plan is created, yes, probate can be avoided. At the Law Office of Frederick N. Pellegrini, we are firm believers in trusts and can help clients fund or retitle assets into trusts. From bank accounts to life insurance policies, we can transfer your items into specific types of trusts-therefore helping your loved ones avoid the probate process.

  • Q:What Is a Trust?

    A:A trust is a legal agreement that allows a third party (called a trustee) to hold certain assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Depending on the trust you wish to create, you can either have complete or absolutely no access to your trust. Certain types of trusts cannot be counted toward probate, so fewer taxes may be due upon your death and your beneficiaries can receive items in the trust faster.

  • Q:Do I need a will in my estate plan?

    A:A will is a basic estate planning tool that outlines which loved one is to receive what upon your passing. A will alone, however, may mean that your items will be subject to the probate process. Wills can incorporate trusts, so if you are considering creating a trust, it is ideal to update your will.

  • Q:What Is a Healthcare Proxy?

    A:If you are 18 years of age or older, you have the right to create a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a document that allows you to appoint an individual whom you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. The person you appoint, or the agent, has the legal right to make healthcare decisions for you, including: Resuscitation orders, diagnostic/therapeutic procedures, and synthetic methods of supplying food/fluids If you do not have a healthcare proxy prior to becoming incapacitated, the state may be forced to make medical decisions on your behalf.

  • Q:How Can I Avoid Massachusetts Estate Tax?

    A:Currently, Massachusetts estate tax is imposed on estates worth over $1 million. At the Law Office of Frederick N. Pellegrini, one of our Dedham estate planning attorneys can incorporate a tax strategy in your current estate plan. Such strategies include gifting, creating specific trusts, and marital deduction.

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