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Estate Planning by Massachusetts Attorneys

The use of Wills alone as an estate planning approach will not always dispose of every estate asset. Savvy estate planning recognizes that jointly held assets do not pass through Massachusetts Wills; only solely held assets do. For most people who are married and own real estate this means that a jointly held home does not pass through the Will but rather passes directly to the surviving spouse. Likewise other jointly held assets do not pass through the Will but rather go directly to the remaining joint tenants.

Joint tenancy is not a substitute for a properly drafted will however. Joint tenancy alone does not avoid problems of state and federal estate taxes. Nor does it properly create an estate plan for simultaneous deaths. A joint tenancy created only for convenience or to avoid probate will create legal title in the other joint owners, which may be hard to revoke without their permission.

There are better estate planning methods. You may benefit from the use of revocable or living trusts. This type of trust can seamlessly link to your estate plan by use of a special "pour-over" will. Irrevocable life insurance trusts can create tax-free benefits to your loved ones. Other tools such as charitable gifts and gifts to minors are available as additional techniques. To talk to an estate planning attorney about the best alternatives available to you and for information on our custom estate planning packages , contact us.

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