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estate planning

Parents made wills in 1996. Nothing has changed except their age/health. Any concerns over the validity of the wills?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Wills were made and recorded in 1996. They have the same address, they’re still married, all their children and grandchildren are still living, and little, if anything, in their lives has changed. Given the state of their health, should we be concerned with the wills’ validity given the age of their wills? ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU: A validly executed will remains in effect no matter how long ago the wills were executed. I am

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Contemplating Your Estate Plan During Covid-19

Get Your Affairs in Order For most of us, coronavirus and the threat it poses has made us contemplate the status of our estate plans. As thousands of people in the Commonwealth have died of COVID-19 and its complications, many thousands more are ill, and many, many thousands more face unemployment and financial hardship. There are also innumerable, lesser losses: newborn grandchildren who have yet to meet their grandparents; weddings canceled and postponed; funerals with only

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What should I do about a verbal agreement and one witness?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My mother passed away.  Before she passed, she had a talk with my step-dad and her kids separately. She stated to me and my brother that she and my step-dad had talked about what she wanted to do with her money.  She was leaving her s.s., pension and 401k to her kids.  She also stated that my step-dad agreed to giving us everything and that he stated to her didn’t want any of the

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Does my brother have a right to sell my mother’s house?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My mother is in a nursing home. Before that I was her caregiver. I am still her power of attorney. I still live in my childhood home and have started a family of my own. My brother just got out of prison and wants the house. He only lived in the house for one year and never paid even one bill. I used my retirement from a previous job to pay off the house

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Do any of you advise against using online template forms to create your own Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Some of my colleagues have used these forms to create their own Will and Power of Attorney–not sure about Health Care Directive. As long as they are notarized, I assume these documents are considered as legal as those created by an Attorney–or am I mistaken? Are there cautionary tales you wish to share? Is there an online resource for these forms that you recommend? What range of costs should I expect if I complete

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Does an executor need to disclose how money is being spent?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My mother had a stroke, but is very cognitive and alert , she is in rehab. My brother has taken over as executor to pay bills. As one of 8 siblings I have asked several times how the bills are being paid. I have asked for detail info since I knew exactly what was in her accounts. I have been told that I do not need to know, or how the money is being

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How do I remove my mother’s name from the title to my (our) home?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My mother is 97 years old with dementia such that she needs 24 hour care. She is destitute and on Medicaid and is represented by an elder law lawyer who is her court appointed guardian. I am considering the possibility of selling our townhouse and moving to be near one of my children. I am not in a good financial place myself, another reason to move to somewhere less expensive with one of my

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What is the difference between a durable power of attorney and a power of attorney?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: My mother is 88 years old. She would like help paying bills, being a representative for her with her bank and other creditors. What type of form do I need? ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU: A power of attorney is a document which gives an agent the ability to make financial decisions for the principal for a certain transaction or period of time. It will cease to be valid if the principal becomes disabled. For

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