Is a HIPAA-release required for Massachusetts Health Care Proxies?

January 14th, 2016

What is a HIPAA Release?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) is a federal law that protects the privacy and security of individuals’ medical records in the United States. Generally, HIPAA prohibits health care providers and insurance companies from disclosing a patient’s medical information to third parties without the patient’s prior written authorization in the form of a HIPAA Release. However, what happens if you become incapacitated and cannot provide written authorization to allow your health care agent to see your records?  The experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at The Sullivan Firm, P.C. will draft the necessary documents as part of your estate plan to ensure that your health care agent can review your medical records if the need ever arises so they can make an informed decision about your treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

What Happens in Massachusetts When a Will Cannot Be Found?

January 4th, 2016

In Massachusetts, a lost or misplaced will can present many problems for the family of the deceased. Losing a will may create lengthy and costly litigation among family members who each claim the estate of the deceased. Contentious litigation may drive a wedge through the family and could prevent the deceased’s true intentions from being carried out. As an estate planning specialist, Attorney Troy Sullivan can work with you to draft an effective estate plan and ensure that your wishes are carried out.  This will save everyone who has suffered the loss of the deceased from the stress and effort of attempting to prove what the person would have wanted. Read the rest of this entry »

What happens if you die without an estate plan?

December 11th, 2015

Creating an estate plan is not an easy subject to broach, especially with someone who is young and healthy. Human nature allows us to always think we have time. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and as such, people can be caught off guard and die without ever executing even a simple will. If that is the case and you die without an estate plan (intestate), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will determine how your assets are distributed. Read the rest of this entry »

Making Charitable Bequests in Your Will or Trust

August 19th, 2015

Upon their deaths, many individuals opt to leave part or all of their assets to a charity of their choosing. This is known as a charitable bequest. In fact, many charities rely on charitable bequests for a significant portion of their annual donations and regularly solicit bequests through fundraising drives. A charitable bequest can be made through a gift or via a will or trust. Read the rest of this entry »

How Long Does the Probate Process Take?

August 5th, 2015

The amount of time that the probate process will take depends entirely upon the unique circumstances of each decedent’s estate. Factors that can affect how long the process will take include:

  • The types of assets
  • The number of assets and their monetary value
  • The number of heirs
  • Locating the heirs
  • Determining heirs in the case of intestate succession
  • Whether a will has been drafted
  • Proving the validity of a will
  • The amount of debt and whether any creditors will attempt to collect on the debt
  • Tax issues
  • Whether there are any disputes or other uncertainties

Read the rest of this entry »

Smart Estate Planning For A Family Business

July 14th, 2015

If you own or operate your own business, you likely have valid concerns regarding the future of your business should you pass away. Estate planning for a family business requires working with a competent estate planning attorney who can assist you with drafting a legally sound business succession plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Mental Incapacity and Estate Planning

July 1st, 2015

The common issue of mental incapacity is one of the most important reasons for beginning the estate planning process early. While you may work hard at taking care of yourself, you do not know what the future has in store for you. Estate planning allows you to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed in the manner you choose in the event that you become incapacitated later on in life. Read the rest of this entry »

Avoiding a Tax Bomb on Proceeds from a Life Insurance Policy

June 8th, 2015

Life insurance is a contract entered into between a policy holder and an insurance company. Specifically, the life insurance policy holder makes set payments to the insurance company in exchange for the promise that the company will pay a designated sum of money to a beneficiary in the event that the policy holder passes away. All Massachusetts residents are subject to a state estate tax if their estate is valued over $1 million.

Your estate includes all of the property you own, including tangible personal property (your “stuff”), intangible personal property (bank accounts, IRAs, 401Ks, business interests, etc), and real property as well as any proceeds from a life insurance policy. Because the proceeds on a life insurance policy can be in the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, these proceeds exponentially raise the value of your estate and the tax bomb that your estate faces. Read the rest of this entry »

Do I Need a Will or Trust, or Both? Answered by a Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney

May 4th, 2015

Many people are familiar with the terms “will” and “trust,” however, they don’t exactly know the difference, nor do they know which is more appropriate to address their needs. Being proactive with your financial planning and asset protection is the first step to taking care of your assets and your family when you pass. The next important step is determining which type of protection and planning will fulfill your wishes and make the most sense for your individual set of circumstances.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Do I Do When Someone Dies?

February 4th, 2014

When someone close to you dies it can often be an overwhelming experience. We have created a checklist to use when a person dies to help guide you through this difficult process click here to download.

Please call our office for specific advice when needed.