Wills And Trusts
A well-written will and the creative use of trusts are the foundation of any comprehensive estate plan. At the Law Offices of Nelson Chang in Saugus, I have assisted residents of northeast Massachusetts with wills, trusts and other estate planning tools since 1975.
Because your will and other components of your estate plan must address the unique aspects of your life, it is important that you retain the services of an estate planning lawyer who will invest the time to understand your situation and talk through your objectives. I emphasize clear communication and take as much time as necessary with every client to answer questions and explain options.
If you die without a will, it is known as dying “intestate,” and the state distributes your assets according to Massachusetts intestacy laws, which may deviate significantly from your wishes. For example, if you or a surviving spouse has children from a previous marriage, your spouse receives the first $100,000 plus half of any balance of the estate.
In many instances, a single meeting is enough to gather the information necessary to draft your will and other estate plan documents. It’s a small investment of time that provides you complete control over how your assets will be distributed.
The Benefits Of Trusts
Trusts come in many shapes and sizes, and provide an individual additional flexibility and increased control over how and when assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Trusts are a useful estate planning tool for individuals at all asset levels.
Two primary uses of trusts are to avoid probate, the court-supervised process that transfers assets to beneficiaries, and reduce estate taxes. The creator of a trust — also known as the grantor or settlor — “funds” the trust by transferring ownership of assets into the trust. The grantor designates a trustee — the person or entity that will manage the assets.
A trust can be revocable or irrevocable. Revocable trusts can be amended by the grantor at any time as long as he or she is of sound mind. Irrevocable trusts cannot be amended.
Trusts are created to address specific needs or wishes. For example, parents of mentally or physically disabled children often create special needs trusts, which allow the child to receive financial help from a trustee without disqualifying him or her from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits. Other trusts address everything from the transfer of guns to beneficiaries, to the care of a decedent’s pet.
Contact Law Offices Of Nelson Chang
Drafting a will and putting trusts to work for you begins by meeting with an experienced and knowledgeable Saugus will and trusts attorney. I welcome the opportunity to discuss your goals and recommend the best course of action during a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact me online to schedule a meeting.