Estates, Trusts, Wills
Bonville and Howard is a trusted Law Firm helping you with a will. A will is customized to your desires and needs. Having a will insures that your property will be distributed to those whom you choose. Should you die without a will your property is distributed to those designated by Massachusetts Law.
A will allows you to make decisions, rather than forcing state law or a judge to make the decisions for you after your death. You can direct certain items of value or accounts to go to designated persons, including your church or favorite mission society or charity. The government cannot do this without your specific instructions in a properly executed will. You can designate your executor rather than leaving that choice to your heirs and the surrogate court judge. You can minimize fees and taxes with proper estate planning. You can designate a guardian for your children who will raise them in accordance with your beliefs, rather than having the judge make the decision. And you can set up a trust and name your choice of a trustee in your will to distribute your money to your children over many years and under your choice of conditions, rather than giving your children all of their inheritance at age 18 absent a will.
Wills can be changed easily, but it is not something you can do yourself. We draft our wills in a forward-thinking manner so they will not become obsolete in a couple of years. For example our wills usually accommodate younger children that arrive as a young family grows without the need to revise your will. But as circumstances change, as federal and state laws are changed, estate tax laws are amended, your selections of guardians or executors move away or become unsuitable, children become adults, and your net worth increases, it ultimately becomes necessary to make changes in your will with a codicil or perhaps with a new estate plan. We keep up on the ever changing laws so as to adequately advise you when it is necessary to change your estate plans.
Sometimes a will is not the best way to go. Some clients need trusts either standing alone or in addition to a will. Trusts can be included in a will, or can be drafted for all sorts of specialized purposes, such as avoiding probate, privacy, eliminating will contests, tax planning, Medicaid planning, educational gifts, and for many other purposes. After we review your estate needs, we can advise you what sort of trust you need, or whether you should forego the separate trust.
Sometimes proper estate plans involve transferring real estate while reserving life estates, gifting, Trusts, powers of attorney, various types of guardianship, and other devices.
If there has been a death close to you, it is likely that you will need to contact an attorney to handle the estate. If there was a will, the process is called “probate.” If there was no will, the court procedure is for “administration.” The first question to ask the lawyer should be: “Do I need to probate the will of the person who died?” or in the case of a death without a will, “Do I need an administration proceeding?” The answer is sometimes, but not always. We will discuss the estate situation with you to determine whether a probate or administration is necessary. If they are not necessary, we will advise you how to avoid them, and how to handle the assets of the deceased without extensive legal proceedings. Even if some estate proceedings are necessary, we may be able to use the “small estates” provisions of the law to make things very simple.