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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is It Time For A New Estate Plan?

Can you think of a better thing to do on a lovely spring day than review your estate plan?  No, I’m not kidding.

Now it is especially important to review your plan because the way Wills are probated in Massachusetts is about to change. 

As of July 1, 2011 the Uniform Probate Code will be the law in Massachusetts. 
While the changes will make the probate process faster, it also changes some long-standing rules of inheritance.  Now is the time to call us to make sure that your plan will do what you want it to do.
This is just a peek at some of the key features of the new Code. To learn how the new Code affects you, just give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment.

The Informal Probate Option

After July 1, 2011 the informal probate option will shorten the time it takes to start the probate process. As long as all the parties agree, a personal representative can be appointed in a matter of weeks – not months. There are fewer documents to file, which gives the family more privacy. 

A good estate plan can save you – and your family – thousands of dollars. Call us to find out how.

If You Don’t Have A Will Your Spouse Can Inherit It All

The way it is now, if you die and don’t have a will, but you do have a spouse and children, your spouse inherits half of your estate and your children get the other half.  That can cause quite a few problems.

Under the new Code your spouse will inherit your entire estate as long as your spouse is your children’s other parent.

The best way to make sure that your loved ones receive what you want them to have is to have a well-drafted estate plan.  We can help.

If You Get Married Your Old Will Is Still Effective

Under the current law, your marriage usually makes your old Will invalid. The new Code changes that. Marriage no longer revokes a prior will.
Your new spouse will take a share of any part of your estate that you don’t devise to the children you had before the marriage.  If you don’t have any children from a prior relationship, then your surviving spouse will inherit a share of your entire estate.
If you have been married more than once, or you have children from a prior relationship, call us and we’ll help you make sure that your Will works the way you want it to work.

If You Have Grandchildren Their Shares Might Change

Today, if one or more of your children predeceases you, your grandchildren will share the portion of your estate that the predeceased parent would have received (unless your Will says otherwise).

Under the new Code, your surviving children each receive the share that your Will provides for them, and your grandchildren who have deceased parents divide the shares of the deceased parents equally.

That’s another reason why it’s important to make a plan that works for you and your loved ones under the new Code.

Estate planning doesn't have to be hard, and it doesn't have to be expensive.  The right estate plan will help you family take full advantage of the new Probate Code when the time comes. 

At Shoffner & Associates, we know what to do and how to do it right. As always, we are ready, willing, and able to help you.  We’ll design a plan that is right for you and your budget.  Call us today at 617-369-0111 or send us an email. We’re ready to make it easy.

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