Wills & Trusts

 

 

At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we offer a wide array of family estate planning services. Whether it be a simple will, a health care proxy or a complex estate plan, we can offer you the comfort of knowing you're getting some of the best legal counsel and advice available with regards to your family's future financial security.

 

FAQ's about Will & Estate planning:

Ever wonder what happens to your will when your assets change?

 

Incorporating a trust instrument into your will called a "pour over" provision can assure that any and all assets that were not accounted for in your will at death are automatically placed into a trust for distribution without triggering potential probate litigation among family members. Another option would be to create a codicil after your will is created. This is a modification to the will that is generally attached to your will. It must be signed by the testor and two disinterested witnesses to be valid.

 

 

Ever wonder what happens to your will when you divorce or get married?

 

Marriage automatically revokes all prior wills and codicals. Divorce however only revokes that portion of you will that your former spouse would have been entitled too. Your former spouse is treated as a "pre-deceased" beneficiary for purposes of asset distribution.

 

 

How do you prove coercion or undue influence on a will in probate court?

 

The Petitioner has to do five things: First, you must show you have a legal interest in a valid will. Second, you must show that testor was in fact susceptible to being influenced at the time the will was created. Third, you must show the Defendant had a motive to influence the testor. Fourth, you must show that the Defendant had the opportunity or access to the testor. If the change benefits the Defendant, then it is "undue influence". If the change benefits a third party, then it is "fraud". Lastly, you must show that the influence did in fact cause the testor to change their will.

 

 

Is it possible to disinherit a spouse?

 

 The answer is "No", unless you're divorced. A spouse is entitled to inherit through the provisions of the will. If the spouse is left out, then they may elect to inherit based on their statutory elective share, usually 1/3 of the total assets.

 

 

How are ones assets distributed without a will?

 

Massachusetts uses a "per capita" distribution of assets at the first generation level where someone is alive. If one of the children outlives the first generation then they step up and take the place of the deceased parents share of their respective inheritance. If this is not a desired outcome, one may set up joint accounts or trust instruments so as to avoid intestate distributions.

 

Can I put someone in my will with the condition that they divorce or separate from their spouse; or remain faithful to a religious faith?

 

 The answer is "No". A will or trust provision is invalid as against public policy if it encourages disruption of the family. Gifts that require a beneficiary to separate or divorce are invalid due to public policy violations. Gifts to a beneficiary to remain faithful to a religion are also invalid due to public policy violations. Note: Gifts that provide for the beneficiary only in the event of divorce or seperation are not necessarily deemed invalid because it does not encourage family disruption.

 

 

How do I set up my assets so my family does not have to go to probate court?

 

 Probate is a legal process that is required for distribution of a decendants assets whether they had a will or not. There are four ways to avoid this: (1) Setup property and assets through joint accounts with rights of surviorship. (2) Life insurance contracts with named beneficiaries. (3) Intervivos trusts with life estates and remainders. (4) Contracts payable upon death provisions.

 

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Contact an expert wills and estates attorney



At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your will or trust. As a leading Boston family planning lawyer, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to prepare your estate for the future. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.


 

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Attorney at Law