Boston Estate Planning Law firm of Blake & Associates examines the upcoming 2012 Massachusetts probate law changes and how they will effect your asset protection and estate planning strategies. Massive overhaul of the Massachusetts probate law governing estates, wills, and trusts will be going into effect on January 2 of next year. Appointed fiduciaries, administrators, or beneficiarys of a loved one’s estate, or people planning their own estate, need to be familiar with this information.
New 2012 Massachusetts Probate and Estate Planning Laws
Boston Estate Planning Law firm of Blake & Associates examines the upcoming 2012 Massachusetts probate law changes and how they will effect your asset protection and estate planning strategies.
Changes that will go into effect on January 2, 2012 include substantial reforms to key areas of Massachusetts probate estate law including:
- Which individuals will inherit when a loved one dies
- Procedures required to administer an estate or probate a will
- Interpretation of Estate Planning Documents
- Laws related to the administration of Trusts.
Changes to inheritance rules under the new law are sweeping. For example, after January 2, 2012, if a person dies without will, when only survived by a spouse and children of that marriage, the surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate. Under the current Massachusetts law, the spouse and children of the marriage would divide the estate in such a circumstance.
Caution will be key as practitioners and residents become accustomed to the new law. For example, one long standing Massachusetts Law was that Marriage revokes a will, unless that will was executed in contemplation of marriage. However, under the new law, marriage will not revoke the will. This and other major changes will cause many unintended consequences and will require careful review of Estate Planning documents to ensure they continue to meet their goals.
Massachusetts residents will be pleased with major changes associated with the time required to administer simple estates and other probate court actions. Under the current Massachusetts law, it can take from six weeks to five months to appoint a Permanent Administrator or Executor of an Estate. However, under the new probate law, a personal representative may be appointed as soon as seven days after date of death. Also, the new law presents an option for ‘informal’ administration of uncontested estates, which will allow for less stringent notice requirements, and less court-oversight and supervision of estate administration when family members and beneficiaries are in agreement.
Trust law in Massachusetts will also be modified. Most of the changes involve procedure and not substance. However, procedural changes can also have great effect on the rights of beneficiaries and the requirements of Trustees. One notable change is that testamentary trusts will no longer require accountings to the probate court. Also, all Trustees will now clearly be required to provide notice of their appointment to beneficiaries with copies of their appointment and copies of trust documents including list of assets and accounts.
These January 2 changes will increase the uniformity with the law of other states. Uniform Laws such as the Uniform Probate Code are drafted as the result of comprehensive studies and reviews of the laws of many states by joint committee. The legislation is reviewed by lawyers, judges, registers of probate, community groups, legislators, and representatives of banking and surety communities.
The January 2, 2012 MUPC changes will be the second stage of changes resulting from the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) legislation, which Governor Patrick signed in January of 2009.
The first part of the legislation, which implemented major changes to the law governing Massachusetts Guardianship and Conservatorship law, already went into effect in July of 2009.
For more information about how this new law’s implementation will change your estate planning needs and options, please call Blake and Associates at 617-723-3224.
About Blake & Associates:
For over 30 years, Blake & Associates Counselors At Law have helped Massachusetts families plan and provide for the future using innovative legal and financial strategies to protect their wealth. We can help you find resources that protect your assets, make your life more manageable as a caregiver, and make life better for your loved one. We understand the services available and the systems you must work through in Massachusetts. Call and talk to our experienced attorneys to discuss your specific indiviual/family needs today @ (617) 723-3224.
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