Estate Planning – Wills, Trusts, Homesteads, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies

estate-planningAmy Mello has worked with clients to prepare estate planning documents that are designed to fit their unique needs and goals. For over a decade, she has worked extensively with wills and trusts, to provide her clients with all of the estate planning services they require. In addition, Amy Mello Law also represents clients in the drafting of Durable Powers of Attorney and Health Care Proxies, and has experience working with current Homestead laws, to provide a wide range of services that can be used to protect assets and assist in Estate Planning.

  • Homesteads – See Massachusetts Homestead Statute G.L. c. 188, ßß 1-14 – Homestead laws are designed to protect your principal residence from the claims of creditors. Generally, no attachment may be obtained against real estate that is protected by a homestead. The extent to which your home, including land and buildings, is protected from creditors, depends on the equity you have in your home and the size of your homestead exemption. Without taking any action, the owners of a principal residence may share an automatic homestead exemption of $125,000. This protection against “attachment, seizure, execution on judgement” may be increased to $500,000 by preparing a written declaration of homestead, executing it and recording it at the registry of deeds where the home is located. Additional protection is available for the elderly of at least 62 years of age, as well as disabled owners of a home, as each of them is entitled to a $500,000 homestead exemption, which need not be shared; that is, two elderly owners can each obtain a $500,000 homestead exemption, resulting in $1 million of combined protection for their home. Protection may also be obtained for a principal residence held in a trust.
  • Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) – One or more persons may be named to act on your behalf with respect to your finances and assets when you become disabled and/or incapacitated. The powers granted to your attorney(s)-in-fact may be extremely broad and can include the power to gift, handle tax matters, and amend revocable trusts. You will also nominate, in your DPOA, person(s) to serve as your guardian and conservator should either, or both, later need to be appointed by a court.
  • Health Care Proxy – Only one person is permitted to serve as your health care agent at any one time. Successor or back-up individuals, however, may also be named. Your agent(s) have no power to receive your medical information and make informed health care decisions for you until you are determined to lack the capacity to make or communicate health care decisions.

It is important to work with an experienced attorney to represent you and your loved ones throughout the process of estate planning and, if necessary, through any issues with trust and estate administration after death. Please contact Amy Mello Law to request a consultation to discuss issues relating to Estate Planning, Durable Power of Attorney, Homesteads or Health Care Proxies.