Three Ways to Tighten Up Your Estate Plan

 

Individuals generally think of an estate plan as consisting of a will, trust and some other documents an attorney may prepare. However, there are three simple steps you can take (that do not require a lawyer) to help ensure your estate plan is properly implemented and to reduce financial and emotional cost to your loved ones:

 

  1. List Accounts: Separate from your will, you should keep a document that outlines all of your financial accounts, contact information, account numbers and any stated beneficiaries or special characteristics. This will assist your family and personal representative in identifying, collecting and distributing assets. It further increases the chances that no assets will be “forgotten” and will help reduce the necessity of your estate having to hire an asset search company. This list of accounts should notbe included with your will as it could then become a public document. Rather it should be kept with your estate documents with a specific letter of instruction to help guide your personal representative or family member(s).

 

  1. Proof of Ownership: Similar to the previous point, you should keep a folder with key documents that reflect your title or interest in your assets. This may include a copy of your car title, deed for real property, retirement account statements, investment account statements, etc. The purpose of these documents is to not only help identify assets but to help prove ownership in the event a dispute arises.

 

  1. Personal Letters: Take some time to write a personal letter to each of your loved ones. In these letters you can express how you feel, reflect on moments you shared and otherwise communicate any feelings that you don’t want to go unsaid. This is an opportunity for personal reflection and can help bring into perspective each of your relationships.

 

These documents should be updated regularly. A good time to do it may be when you are preparing to file your taxes as you will be reviewing a lot of the information which relates to these goals.

 

I wish you all the best,

Josh Robbins

Of Counsel

Scafidi, Juliano & Hurd, LLP

310 Washington Street, Suite 201

Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481

(T): 781-210-4710

(F): 781-210-4711

(E): jrobbins@sjh-law.com

Disclaimer:

This Blog/Website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice).  This blog is for general informational purposes only. Joshua N. Robbins, Esq. does not offer or dispense legal advise through this blog or by emails to or from this site. By using this Blog / Website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher.  The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon a Blog / Website. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. While the blog is revised on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. The opinions expressed at or through the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained on this site (including any links provided) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Pet Prenuptial Agreements

 

The recent WBZ News Channel 4 segment on pet prenuptial agreements highlights a common area of controversy in divorce and how an increasing number of pet owners are taking steps to protect their interest in the family dog or cat. A pet prenuptial agreement (or a “Pup-Nup”) is an agreement that spouses enter into, which provides for care, custody and even “pet parenting time” in the event the marriage breaks down. Such agreements can help couples save thousands of dollars in legal fees, time and emotional energy in the event a conflict erupts over who should keep the family pet.

While Massachusetts does allow individuals to obtain restraining orders (i.e. 209(A) Abuse Prevention Order) relative to their pets, the Commonwealth still treats pets as any other form of property, such as a car, furniture or bank account, and as such pets are subject to division during a divorce pursuant to certain factors. However, most pet owners will likely agree that their pet is far more than a piece of property, but rather a family member or child. Pet prenuptial agreements are not typically complex, and if you are already contemplating a prenuptial agreement, a pet provision may be inserted.

If you are interested in ensuring that your family pet is protected, please give me a call.

I wish you all the best,

Josh Robbins

Of Counsel

Scafidi, Juliano & Hurd, LLP

310 Washington Street, Suite 201

Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481

(T): 781-210-4710

(F): 781-210-4711

(E): jrobbins@sjh-law.com

Disclaimer:

This Blog/Website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice (or any legal advice).  This blog is for general informational purposes only. Joshua N. Robbins, Esq. does not offer or dispense legal advise through this blog or by emails to or from this site. By using this Blog / Website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher.  The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. This blog is not published for advertising or solicitation purposes. Regardless, the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon a Blog / Website. The information on the blog may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. While the blog is revised on a regular basis, it may not reflect the most current legal developments. The opinions expressed at or through the blog are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained on this site (including any links provided) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.