Estate Planning

Experienced Sutton Estate Planning Lawyer: Personalized Estate Planning for You and Your Family

During an in-depth consultation, Merrill gathers your relevant information and then recommends a tailored estate plan to carry out your goals. Before the documents are finalized, he will review them with you, make changes if needed, to be sure your documents are accurate and the plan is appropriate for you. The estate planning process does not end with the signing of documents. If you establish a Trust, Merrill will assist you in funding the Trust and making sure that it is administered properly. If you are planning to minimize or eliminate estate taxes, have an ongoing gifting program, or own a family business, he will meet with you periodically, to make sure that the original plan is being carried out correctly and to determine if changes are needed.

Whatever the size of your estate, Merrill has the experience to recommend and implement an estate plan that will carry out your goals, including the preparation and implementation of the following documents:

  • Wills
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxies and Living Wills
  • Homestead Declarations
  • Deeds with Life Estates
  • Irrevocable Insurance Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Irrevocable Medicaid/Asset Protection Trusts

A good estate plan deals with what the future may bring — good or bad. It starts with planning for you. With a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy, you can give a trusted family member or friend the ability to deal with financial matters and make medical decisions on your behalf during a medical emergency. If you become permanently incapacitated, these documents will allow your representative to continue dealing with all legal, financial, and tax matters on your behalf and making decisions about your living arrangements and medical care on a permanent basis, without having to go through the ordeal and expense of public Guardianship proceedings in Probate Court. The Living Will expresses your wishes about dying with dignity, specifically addressing the use or suspension of artificial life support systems, and ensures that your wishes will be carried out when you can no longer speak for yourself.

Revocable Trusts and Other Documents to Provide for Your Family

Establishing and funding a Revocable Trust can accomplish a number of objectives. With the Revocable Trust, you continue to manage your assets for as long as you are able to do so. If you become incapacitated, the Trust property will be managed for your benefit by the person named by you to act as Co-Trustee or Successor Trustee. Your Trust also contains instructions about the management and distribution of Trust property for the benefit of your spouse, children, grandchildren, charities and other beneficiaries after your death. The Trust may continue after your death for the benefit of your spouse, children, and/or grandchildren, or it may terminate after your death when the assets are distributed to the Trust beneficiaries. With a properly funded Revocable Trust, there will be no need to probate your Will. Your family will be able to avoid the costly, slow and very public process of administering your estate through the Probate Court. A Revocable Trust can also be structured to minimize or eliminate liability for estate taxes, enabling you to pass on more of your assets to future generations. If you are a member of a “Blended Family,” your Trust can include provisions to ensure that your current spouse will be supported after your death, and your children by your current marriage and/or a prior marriage will receive their inheritance after you and your spouse are deceased.

In addition to these basic documents, other specialized documents, such as a Prenuptial Agreement, a Special Needs Trust for a disabled child, or an Irrevocable Trust to protect your assets or hold life insurance proceeds, may be appropriate.

Attorney Merrill J. Atkins provides personalized estate planning for families and individuals at all stages of their lives. Whether you are newly married, starting a family, recently divorced, or re-marrying, Merrill can help you establish an estate plan that is appropriate for you and your family. By taking a comprehensive approach to estate planning, asking detailed questions and working with your accountant and financial adviser when appropriate, Merrill will be able to develop an estate plan to address your specific issues. Contact us today for a consultation.

Located in Sutton, Massachusetts, Merrill provides estate planning services to individuals in Worcester County and the Blackstone Valley area.


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