Three facts about estate planning in Massachusetts that you should know

Estate planning in general means that you are engaging in financial planning focused on the laws of property, wills, and trusts. Here are three facts about Massachusetts law that you should know.

Estate Tax. Federal taxes levied against the deceased’s estate in Massachusetts are extremely high. The rate can be as steep as as 55%. Moreover, these taxes must be paid in cash. They must also generally be paid within nine months subsequent to the date of death.

However, preplanning your estate can lessen or even dismiss these taxes. Both the federal government and Massachusetts allow a certain amount—up to $1 million–to be tax free. The creation of an estate plan means that one can use allowed exemptions to reduce or eliminate large estate taxes, and protect one’s family from having to use cash and assets they have inherited to pay the tax. [Read more…]

How Elder Law Attorneys Assist Senior Citizens

As you and your loved ones get older, new situations will be encountered  that involve issues due to aging. You are not quite sure how to solve these problems. Where can you get advice? A good starting place is going to an attorney that specializes in elder law.

What is Elder Law?
Elder Law is a rapidly growing legal practice that assists senior citizens needing help and guidance with legal matters. It specifically focuses on older adults in areas such as estate planning, long-term care, medical directives, nursing home issues, and Medicaid.

Estate Planning
Your parents are aging. You want to encourage them to develop an estate plan. This is a type of advance planning to organize property and financial assets and put in writing what a person’s wishes are for their assets after they are deceased. It is a hard conversation to have with your parents, but will be very useful after they have passed.

Long Term Care
As you age, you may begin thinking about the possibility that you might need assistance in everyday living when you get older. Or maybe your loved ones need that type of help now. There are several options. [Read more…]

Elder Law: The Importance of Planning

A recent Boston Globe article reveals as many as 60% of Massachusetts nursing homes are finding ways to skirt a 2012 dementia care law intended to prevent deceptive practices. The law requires that facilities advertising dementia care must meet specific criteria including dementia-specific training for staff, specialized activities, and security measures to prevent wandering.

This story is just one of many that illustrate how important it is to do your homework and advocate for your loved one through estate planning and long term care planning. Our firm assists clients with all of their elder law concerns. Areas within elder law include:

  • Nursing Home Issues – Sadly, as our population ages, we see increased cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in nursing homes. An elder law attorney can help secure return of assets in a case of financial exploitation or recover damages for injuries resulting from neglect or abuse.
  • Medical Directives – Should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes, it’s imperative that you have medical directives in place. In Massachusetts, you will need a living will and health care proxy. An attorney can help you through this delicate process.

[Read more…]

Estate Planning and Future Healthcare Planning in Massachusetts Law

Though many people have the notion that estate planning is only for the rich, anyone who has earned money and done a good job of investing it can benefit from careful estate planning. Without a comprehensive estate plan, all the things that you have worked so hard for can be lost or given to unintended beneficiaries. Since estate law varies from state to state, it is wise to consult with an attorney well-versed in Massachusetts law to make a solid plan for the future of your assets.

There are many ways to protect your assets for those you love by means of an effective estate plan. Your attorney can help you draft a will in which you can specify how your assets should be distributed at the time of your death.  Wills can also designate legal guardians for your children in the event they are still minors or are incompetent. Funeral and burial requests can also be included.  A Massachusetts attorney can help you draft a will that will stand even in the event that someone should contest the will in court. [Read more…]

A very good choice

Hiring Mr. Sharry was a good choice for me regarding my Social Security Disability case. He is very well versed in all aspects of SSDI. He was very responsive when I called him. He returns calls promptly which meant a lot to me.

by Brian

Attorney Christopher Sharry SSA claim

Attorney Sharry help me get my social security disability in just 1 and half years. He was very friendly easy to understand the legal laws and what I needed overall. He fought for my rights and won my case. Thank you

by Carmen

Assisted me with SS Disability claim

I was nervous and humbled having to ask for help. From day one, he made me feel comfortable and confident. He stayed in constant contact and seemed genually empathetic to my situation. He was there for me until approval.

My contact at Social Security told me the reason for my quick resolution was the preparation and forms from his office were always complete and easy to follow. I will always use him if I need advice or legal issues. You should too.

by Troy, disability client

Awesome Lawyer

Christopher Sharry handled my disability case which I did not have much knowledge in pursuing one, he was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain things to me that I did not understand. I would definitely recommend him to represent your case. You won’t regret it.

by Gina, disability client

Estate Planning Considerations for Singles and Massachusetts Law

Single persons without heirs have unique considerations when planning for the future. Unlike most married couples with spouses and/or children, they need to involve friends or other relatives in their financial, medical emergency and end of life arrangements.

Documents used to convey what should take place if a single person becomes incapacitated can include a durable power of attorney, springing power of attorney, a health care proxy advance care directive and an authorization under HIPAA. Employing one or more of these documents will authorize your agent to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able.

The springing power of attorney only comes into effect upon an event such incapacitation or disability. In contrast, a durable power of attorney applies when it is signed.

Despite being childless, a single person may have dependents such as parents or siblings. Perhaps, there are valued charities and friends he or she wishes to endow. Setting up a revocable living trust or making a will is the way to make sure that his or her wishes take precedence.

If there is no Will, trust, or beneficiary designations in place, the estate of a single person may become subject to Massachusetts probate process and is disbursed under Massachusetts law.

For those without family, choosing the right person to carry out your wishes might be difficult.  In this case, working with an estate planner is beneficial.

Elder Financial Abuse in Massachusetts

In 2013, there were 21,000 contacts made with the Massachusetts Protective Services which concerned elder abuse – a third of these involved financial exploitation.

In the Massachusetts General Laws financial exploitation is described as the substantial monetary or property loss of an elderly person due to an act or omission of another person.  This exploitation also applies to circumstances where the elderly person has given consent of the act or omission under coercion, threat of force, or misrepresentation.

Financial exploitation is any action that is harmful to the elderly victim through the illegal acquisition, inappropriate use or concealment of funds, assets or property for the benefit of another.  It can encompass misdeeds from theft of money or valuables, unauthorized withdrawals, illicit use of credit cards, identity theft, transferring property, coercing a change in a Will, forging signatures on checks to internet scams.

Because seniors often have accumulated more wealth than the younger population they are attractive targets.  The ability to properly manage one’s finances generally diminishes with age.  A 2010 study found that the annual financial loss due to elder financial exploitation was close to $2.9 billion. [Read more…]