What We Do
The planning process begins with getting to know you and your family, the goals that each person has, and learning about each person's role. Estate planning involves assisting clients in providing for their needs during life while planning for the future. We help to ensure wishes are fulfilled upon death while minimizing probate and administration costs, protecting assets, as well as eliminating or greatly reducing estate taxes. Strategies include estate equalization, re-titling of assets, and gifting strategies. Various estate planning documents include wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, health care proxies, durable powers of attorney, and living wills.
small business law
We represent small businesses and other closely-held non-public entities in many phases of business. Our office represents companies in asset acquisition and stock purchases, business formation and succession planning, shareholder and operating agreements and By-laws. We also represent companies for general corporate maintenance, including business formalities such as annual reports, shareholder minutes, corporate votes and resolutions, and notice. It's important to be sure these corporate formalities are followed in order to maintain liability limitations of the business.
Probate & estate administration
The Massachusetts Uniform Probate Court (MUPC) governs how to probate an estate in Massachusetts, whether or not the decedent left a will. If the person died with a will, the will must be filed with the court shortly after the person's death. Typically the person filing the will also petition the court for the allowance of the will and the appointment of a personal representative (formerly executor).
There are a number of ways to administer an estate in Massachusetts including, voluntary, formal, informal, and supervised, as well as late and limited. This is a technical process involving choosing the best probate option for the situation; carefully completing documents; providing notice, whether mailed or published in a local newspaper; and potentially appearing before the court. Interested parties have a period of time to object to the allowance and appointment. If objections are made, a judge will consider them at a hearing and rule accordingly.
Litigating in court is time-consuming, expensive, and difficult. It should be used as a last resort. Wills and real estate transfers ore occasionally questioned on the basis of their validity, including as the result of lack of capacity; fraud, duress, or undue influence; or irregularities in execution. Similar issues can arise in a trust context. Interested persons can challenge the validity of a real estate transfer or a will that's been offered for probate. Furthermore, if a beneficiary thinks they've been wronged, they can request the fiduciary file an accounting with the court, and potentially challenge the propriety of certain acts. We're here to help you understand and protect your rights.
guardianship & conservatorship
Guardianship and Conservatorship involve protection of persons and their property. A Guardian of a minor has the powers and responsibilities of a parent regarding the minor's support, care, education, health, and welfare. If a minor with a Guardian has, or is to inherit an estate, the court will appoint a Conservator to manage the estate in the best interests of the minor. The Guardian and Conservator are subject to court supervision and must petition the court for permission for certain transactions. Our office drafts wills and living revocable trusts in order to avoid Conservators for minors and to appoint trusted friends and family as potential Guardians. In our practice we often represent elderly clients subject to Guardianship petitions, as well as young people with special needs turning eighteen years old. We help families petition for Guardianship and Conservatorship, and we also represent clients subject to such petitions before the court. Whether you're petitioning to become Guardian or Conservator or challenging such a petition, we guide you through the process and help you understand your rights, duties, and authority.