Safeguard Your Assets With Expert Estate Planning Services

Determining the appropriate estate planning documents is crucial for safeguarding your assets, ensuring the well-being of your loved ones, and realizing your specific objectives. Holly Lynch Law provides tailored estate planning services to meet your individual needs. Whether you aim to protect your assets, provide for your minor children, facilitate the transfer of your property, minimize estate taxes, or avoid probate, attorney Holly Vietzke is here to assist you every step of the way.

Will is for Everyone

A will is a crucial estate planning document for everyone, especially those with minor children. It allows you to specify who will care for your children if you and your spouse pass away. Creating a will is a basic step to ensuring your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Having a will in place makes the probate process easier for loved ones.

Don’t Delay Wills

Many young couples delay creating a will because they struggle to choose a guardian. While no one can replace you as a parent, it's essential to have a say in who will care for your children if something happens to you. You can always update your will to change the named guardian as needed.

Will for an Older Couple

For older couples or those nearing retirement age, a will with a testamentary trust can help protect assets for a surviving spouse's Medicaid eligibility. Planning ahead is crucial, as you must complete the estate plan well before needing nursing home care to protect assets effectively.

What Happens if There is No Will

In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, dying without a will (intestate) means your estate will pass according to a statutory scheme, which may not align with your wishes. With a will, you can customize your provisions to ensure your assets go to the right people in the amounts you determine.

Who Needs a Trust

While not everyone needs a trust, it can be a valuable tool in estate planning. A revocable (living) trust can help avoid probate, ensuring a smoother transition of your assets upon your death. This is especially important in New Hampshire, where probate administration requires the executor to provide a bond. Additionally, since trusts are not public records, they provide some privacy over your estate. Revocable trusts also dictate how your children or other beneficiaries will receive their inheritances, based on your chosen terms.

Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable trusts are another option to protect your assets by removing them entirely from your estate. This can help eliminate or reduce estate taxes, which is particularly important in Massachusetts. Irrevocable trusts also protect assets from creditors. Although you give up control of your assets, you can still receive income from an irrevocable trust. Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) keep life insurance death benefits out of the estate, further lowering or eliminating estate taxes.

Testamentary Trusts

Testamentary trusts, created within a will, are beneficial planning tools for older couples needing nursing home care. Assets from the will upon one spouse's death create a testamentary trust for the surviving spouse. These assets are then out of the surviving spouse's estate and control, making them inaccessible and enabling the surviving spouse to qualify for government benefits.

Special Needs Trusts

Supplemental (or special needs) trusts allow the beneficiary to receive money from the trust in addition to government benefits without impacting those benefits. These trusts can be established by either the beneficiary or a third party, such as a parent. Estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of age or financial status. Holly Lynch Law LLC is here to help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Durable Power of Attorney

The Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a vital legal instrument that should be included in every individual's estate planning portfolio. Like a will, the DPOA holds particular significance as it empowers a designated individual to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. Without this document, complex legal procedures such as obtaining medical declarations and petitioning the court for guardianship can pose significant challenges to your loved ones. Notably, the DPOA remains effective throughout your lifetime, ensuring continuous protection, even in times of incapacity.

Health Care Proxy and Advance Directive

The Health Care Proxy (HCP) is a simple legal document that can be created without legal help. However, hiring a lawyer to draft it has several advantages. Legal professionals can anticipate and address issues that standard forms do not cover, resulting in comprehensive coverage. Furthermore, attorneys frequently include additional components such as HIPAA authorizations and advance directives, especially in states like New Hampshire.

When the HCP Can Be Used

Similar to the durable power of attorney, a competent individual can revoke the health care proxy at any time. It's important to note that the appointed agent is only authorized to make medical decisions if the individual is unable or unwilling to do so.

Advance Directive (Living Will)

The Advance Directive, commonly known as the Living Will, communicates your preferences regarding medical treatment and other healthcare matters to your designated agent. While its legal enforceability varies by state, it provides invaluable guidance for your healthcare representative. Notably, advance directives hold legal weight in New Hampshire, providing binding instructions for medical decision-making. For a comprehensive consultation on your estate planning needs, please contact Holly Lynch Law LLC online or call (978) 200-0012.