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How can a health care proxy be revoked?

There are a few ways that a health care proxy may be revoked.  It can be revoked if one of the following events occur: 1.  If you sign a different health care proxy at a later date, 2.  If you divorce or legally separate your spouse who you had named in your health care proxy as your agent, 3. If you notify…

If a Trust Has an Expiration Date, Can it Be Extended?

There’s a trust, whether it was created by you or someone else, and you want to know if it can be extended so that it doesn’t expire.  It depends entirely on the type of trust and how the trust was drafted. People often think that a trust is a trust; that there’s no difference between one person’s trust and another except for…

What is an Interrorem Clause?

“Interrorem” in Latin means to “put one in fear.”  An “Interrorem Clause” can be inserted into a Will and basically states that if any person provided for in the Will files a Will contest, that person will lose any bequest or benefit provided for them in the Will.  This is often helpful to stop someone from challenging the will, which could result in a…

Are there any restrictions on who I can choose to be an executor?

An executor cannot be a minor, convicted felon, or non-United States citizen.  Furthermore, while Massachusetts allows you to name someone who lives in another state to be your executor, you will need to appoint an agent who can act on their behalf.  There is an “Appointment of Agent” form that may be filled out at the probate office.  This requires the non-resident…

Can You mention an organ donation in my will?

Yes, Massachusetts has adopted the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act which says that any person over 18 years old may make a gift of his or her body or any part of their body upon their death to a hospital, physician, surgeon, medical school, etc. This gift can be made by a card, a written form, or by will. The will makes the…

Does Massachusetts Allow Husband and Wife to Have a Joint Will?

No, in Massachusetts you can not have a joint will with your spouse.  You and your spouse each need to make separate wills regardless if you own all of your property jointly.  When one dies, the property will pass to the survivor and the survivor will become the sole owner of the property.  Because of this and the fact that there is…

Can A Beneficiary of a Will act as a witness to the Will?

In Massachusetts, if a beneficiary (one that receives a benefit) of a will acts as a witness then the will shall still be valid.  However, the witness will not be able to take any property under the will.  The reason for this is that a witness may not be completely truthful in their statements regarding the execution of the will when they…

What Happens If You Don’t Want to Inherit Anything?

Although it may sound strange that someone would want to turn down an inheritance, there are situations where it may be wise to not accept the inheritance.  It is possible to turn down an inheritance by filing a disclaimer.   A disclaimer is the refusal to accept an inheritance.  The disclaimer must be in writing and submitted to the court that is overseeing the disposition of…

Durable Power of Attorney vs. Springing Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) in general is a legal document that allows someone else to speak and act on your behalf. You give a power of attorney to someone who is then called an attorney-in-fact (as oppose to an attorney-at-law who are lawyers). The uses of a POA are many. Some people give POAs to their lawyers so that they do…

How do you Calculate the Massachusetts Estate Tax?

First, there’s a difference between the Federal Estate Tax and the Massachusetts Estate Tax.  They’re related but very different. The Federal Estate Tax for this year applies only to those individuals with assets worth over $5 Million and is taxed at a 35% rate.  The Massachusetts Estate Tax applies to individuals with assets worth over $1 Million and the tax rate varies….