Estate & Tax Planning

Estate & Tax Planning Berkshire MA

Covering All Your Bases

We create individualized and comprehensive estate plans which can include a Will, Trusts, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and HIPAA Medical Record Information Release.

Worried about potential issues concerning guardianship or inheritance for special needs adult children, blended families, married and unmarried couples, surviving spouses and domestic partners? With decades of experience, we’ve seen and done it all and can craft a customized plan.

Complementary Life Care Planning is available to all of our estate planning clients.

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From Simple to Sophisticated Estate Plans

We help you understand all your estate planning options, estate tax savings and asset protection strategies.

  • Calling the Shots When You Can’t

    We work to ensure you have the right people in place to make financial and medical decisions.

  • Minimize Death Taxes & Avoid Probate Court

    We’re experts in preparing and funding trusts and brainstorming gift strategies so more of your assets pass directly to your heirs and less to the state.

  • End-to-End Services

    Should laws or life circumstances change, our maintenance program keeps your estate plan current and working as intended. We can also settle and administer your estate and trusts.

Estate & Tax Planning

If You Have Assets, You Need an Estate Plan

Do you want your assets tied up in court, passing to unintended beneficiaries or being greatly reduced in value by high and legally avoidable estate taxes?

The answer is a resounding “Of course not!” for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? If you have assets, you need an estate plan.

Keep in mind the following four things as you develop or update your estate plan with a qualified estate planning attorney.

1. Focus on the goal.
The goal of estate planning is to provide for the management and transfer of your property, in the event of incapacity or death, at the smallest financial and emotional cost to your family.

2. Know the benefits and savings gained by staying ahead of the curve and planning ahead.
Through a properly structured estate plan, you can minimize or eliminate estate taxes (remember MA is one of the few states in the country with an estate tax), make crucial decisions regarding the distribution of your assets, and provide for the protection of your loved ones.

For example, a married couple with assets totaling $1.6 million, which includes real estate, life insurance, IRAs, all bank and investment accounts, will save approximately $70,800 in Massachusetts estate taxes by each having a Revocable Trust. By taking the next step and re-titling their assets to each of their revocable trusts during their lifetimes, they can also avoid legal fees and other expenses of probate, eliminate the one year-plus period that the estate must remain open in the probate court for creditors, keep their assets and beneficiaries private and simplify the entire process.

3. Understand it’s not just about what happens after death, but what happens in the event that you’re still alive but incapacitated.
Remember, estate planning can enable you to select the individuals who will manage your affairs not only in the event of your death, but also your incapacity. Those who become incapacitated without a durable power of attorney or health care proxy in place will have to have to go through Probate Court to appoint a Guardian or Conservator who may not follow their wishes regarding medical and financial matters. This is time consuming, open to the public, unpleasant and expensive. By having a durable power of attorney for asset management and health care proxy, in most instances you can avoid a conservator of your estate and guardian of your person, respectively. Of course, those who die without naming personal representatives (executors), and trustees to manage their affairs also invite conflict and controversy as to who should fill these roles.

4. Keep in mind a customized estate plan is far superior to a one-size-fits-all estate plan.
Every individual, couple or family has its own distinct dynamic and set of financial circumstances. Everyone marches to a different drummer. An estate plan that is most effective is one that is personalized and involves a qualified estate planner with an eye for the finer details.

From Panic to Confident to Done

“This is the team to be with if you find yourself in a tough place. I went from panic to confident to done. The entire staff was professional, informative, patient, compassionate. I will always treasure their kindness toward my 91 year old mother. Thanks to attorneys Paula Almgren and Kristina Kisiel and the entire team for their expertise and kindness.” —Linda C.

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