AndoverLaw, P.C. is easily accessible at One Elm Square in Andover, Massachusetts. Our attorneys specialize in the protection of the elderly and the preservation of their assets. Estate planning, probate, estate administration, guardianships, conservatorships, Medicaid planning, Medicaid applications, Medicaid appeals, and trust administration are all areas of practice for us. We spend a significant amount of time recovering assets that were wrongfully taken from elders.
We also practice in areas that are inextricably linked to the core of our practice. We, for example, provide estate planning and special needs planning to people of all ages. We handle will contests and other non-probate transfers where the property owner was incompetent or under duress.
The concept of estate planning is frequently misunderstood. Preparing a blueprint for the orderly management of your assets if you are unable to manage them yourself is part of the process. This procedure takes a comprehensive approach to the preservation and transfer of family wealth.
The process begins with making plans for living. It includes making plans for disability, which is far more likely than death. Health care proxies and durable powers of attorney are two of the most basic tools.
Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes. Trust assets are generally exempt from probate. This device provides some privacy and may, in some cases, significantly reduce the cost of probating an estate. Trusts, on the other hand, are more commonly used to manage money for individuals who are unable to manage it themselves. These people may include children or people with special needs (or maybe even the person that originally funded the trust). Trusts are also commonly used to obtain significant tax benefits.
Many other devices are exempt from the probate process. (Probate is the legal process by which the Probate Court accepts a will as valid, determines heirs, and oversees estate administration.) Contractual instruments such as life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans fall into this category. They also include different types of joint ownership. Your attorney will go over your specific situation with you, look over the disposition of each of your assets in the event of death or disability, and create a plan that meets your goals.
Much of our work involves the legal aspects of buying, selling, or passing on a business from one generation to the next. A closely held family business frequently has a sentimental and emotional significance that outweighs its monetary value. We have extensive experience working with owners to balance the need for a smooth transition of the business to the next generation with the desire to fairly recognize family members who may not ultimately own or manage the business.
When a person dies, the disposition of his assets is normally governed by a complex set of laws and overseen by the Probate and Family Court in a procedure known as administration. If he dies without a will (intestate), the court will appoint a Personal Representative to gather and distribute his belongings in accordance with the intestacy statute.
The procedure is similar if the decedent left a will. The main distinction is that a person with a will chooses the person he trusts to manage his estate (Personal Representative) and decides how his money will be distributed when he dies.
The majority of assets in a properly planned estate may transfer outside of the probate process. We assist trustees in managing and administering their responsibilities.
Trustees in many Estate Planning Trusts are family members. However, when a professional fiduciary is required, we collaborate with our sister corporation, Oak Fiduciary Services Corp., as well as several institutional trustees.
We will collaborate with you to define and implement broad investment and distribution goals. We do not offer financial advice.
Unfortunately, not everyone plans, not everyone follows through on their plans, and not everyone acts in good faith. Estate and trust litigation constitutes a significant portion of our practice. In some cases, the family believes that someone (often a family member) stole money from an elder after the elder died or suffered a significant reduction or loss of mental capacity. In other instances, the miscreant has used fairly sophisticated accounting techniques to wrongfully misdirect the estate’s assets. If you believe something similar has occurred, we will work with you to assess the situation and try to resolve it. If a resolution is not possible, we will litigate aggressively.