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I often hear the question, “What does an Estate Planner do?”  My response?  “I make sure your children still want to have Thanksgiving dinner together after you’re gone.”  That may sound flippant, but, truly, isn’t that what we want?  We want our loved ones to lead full and harmonious lives.  Leaving the sorting of your assets, mementos and debts to your family, during the emotional time after your passing, more often than not, does not result in harmonious dynamics.  Do your loved ones a favor – plan for them, organize for them, leave them instructions, be responsible for them. 

Many folks are responsible and upon some life event (they get married, they have a baby, a parent has passed away, they have a new job), they think, “Oh. I should do a Will.”  They believe that is an “estate plan”.  Sometimes they are correct – that’s all they need – but if

  • Your heirs are minors

  • Someone has special needs and is receiving benefits (SSI, SSDI etc.)

  • You’ve been previously married

  • You’re single

  • You own a home

  • You have a taxable estate (and, in Massachusetts, if you have a home, you probably have a taxable estate)

  • You have a pet that requires special attention such as a horse

  • You have strong opinions about end-of-life treatment such as life support

  • You have a pension plan, IRA or other job-related benefits

  • You are a veteran

  • You have elderly parents

  • You are concerned about paying for nursing home care

  • Your children are grown but you worry about them still  . . .


Well, then I’m going to introduce the topics of Revocable Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Pet Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, VA benefits, MassHealth planning, Testamentary Trusts, Living Wills etc. etc.  In other words, there is an entire tool box of documents that can ensure that your hard-earned assets are going to be protected and be available for your loved ones long after you’ve left the Thanksgiving Day table. 


It might be a simple Will, and that’s fine, I won’t overwhelm you with documents and fees if less is better.  But, often, life is more complex and you’re going to want an experienced and educated estate planning attorney who can draft – and translate - all the personalized, crafted and fine-tuned documents you need.  I have been practicing law for thirty years and, in addition to my J.D., I have obtained a legal master’s degree (known as a Ll.M.) specializing in estate planning and elder law.  And, just as importantly, I can speak clearly and charge fairly.

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