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    Practice Areas:
Estate Services
Elder Services

Special Needs Trusts

ESTATE SERVICES

AndoverLaw, P. C. offers a full range of services for your estate planning and administrative needs.

Estate Planning
Estate planning is often misunderstood. The process involves preparing a blueprint for the orderly management of your assets in the event that you are unable to manage them yourself. This process includes a holistic approach to the preservation and transition of family wealth.

The process starts with planning for living. It includes setting up provisions for disability, an event far more likely than death. The basic tools include health care proxies and durable powers of attorney.

Trusts may be used for various reasons. Assets in trust generally avoid probate. This device offers a level of privacy, and in some cases may significantly reduce the cost of probating an estate. However, trusts are more often used to manage money for individuals who are not capable of managing it themselves. These individuals may include children or those with special needs (or maybe even the person that originally funded the trust). Trusts are also frequently used to obtain significant tax advantages.

Many other devices avoid the probate process. (Probate is the legal process by which the Probate Court accepts a will as valid, determines the heirs, and monitors the administration of an estate.) These include contractual instruments such as life insurance, annuities and retirement plans. They also include various forms of joint ownership. Your attorney will review your individual situation with you, check the disposition of each of your assets in the event of death or disability, and customize a plan which meets your objectives.

Much of our practice involves the legal aspects of purchasing, selling or transitioning a business from one generation to another. A closely held family business often has sentimental and emotional significance that exceeds its raw economic value. We are experienced at working with the owner to balance the safe transition of the business to the next generation and with the desire to fairly recognize those family members who may not ultimately own or manage the business.

Estate Administration
Normally, when a person dies the disposition of his assets is controlled by a complex set of laws and overseen by the Probate and Family Court in a process known as administration. If he dies without a will (intestate), the court will appoint an administrator to gather and distribute his assets and distribute them in accordance with a law known as the intestacy statute.

If the decedent has a will, the process is similar. The big difference is that an individual that has a will picks the person he trusts to manage his estate (executor) and determines how his money will be distributed when he dies.

Regardless of which process is required, AndoverLaw, P. C.’s experienced attorneys will work with you to make the process as quick, efficient and painless as possible.

Trust Administration
In a properly planned estate, most of the assets may transfer outside of the probate process. We work with trustees to help them manage and administer their responsibilities. Our work in this area is limited to the legal aspects of administration. We will work with you to define and establish broad investment and distribution objectives. However, we do not provide investment advice. We believe that specific investment decisions are best made after consultation with a Registered Investment Advisor.

Litigation
Unfortunately, not everyone plans, not all plans work, and not all people act in good faith. A major portion of our practice involves litigation of estate and trust issues. Most cases can ultimately be viewed very simply. The family believes that someone (all too often a family member) took an elder’s money either after the elder died or suffered a significant reduction or loss of mental capacity. If you have this problem, we will work with you to evaluate the matter and attempt to resolve it. If resolution is not possible, we will aggressively litigate the matter.

Special Needs Trusts
A Special Needs Trust (SNT), often referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust, is a trust used to protect the assets of those with special needs and those wishing to provide for them while simultaneously preserving the Special Needs Person's eligibility for governmental benefits that pay for their basic needs of food, shelter and medical care.