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Posts by Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.

  • As a general rule, I think that including an in-law in your estate plan is a bad idea. No one wants to think about a divorce in the family, but, realistically, there is no guarantee that your son or daughter will remain married to his or her spouse.

    When In-laws Become Outlaws

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published January 16, 2017 Legal & Financial
    As a general rule, I think that including an in-law in your estate plan is a bad idea. No one wants to think about a divorce in the family, but, realistically, there is no guarantee that your son or daughter will remain married to his or her spouse.

  • When you leave assets to your children in your Will, your children inherit those assets without any strings attached and they can do whatever they want with the assets.  Typically, […]

    What Happens to My Money if My Child Gets Divorced?

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published July 5, 2016 Legal & Financial
    When you leave assets to your children in your Will, your children inherit those assets without any strings attached and they can do whatever they want with the assets.  Typically, […]

  • Often, when I begin discussing who will serve as a Personal Representative, Power of Attorney, or Trustee with my clients, they want two or more of their children to serve […]

    Two’s a Crowd: The Problems With Using Multiple Fiduciaries

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published May 16, 2016 Legal & Financial
    Often, when I begin discussing who will serve as a Personal Representative, Power of Attorney, or Trustee with my clients, they want two or more of their children to serve […]

  • Driving by mature citizens is one of the most difficult issues we face as a society. Although we all agree that aging can impair certain functions required to drive, such as eyesight, we do not agree on when the impairment reaches the point that driving is not safe. Legally, in Massachusetts, the test for driving is applied on a case by case basis.

    When is it no longer safe for seniors to drive?

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published January 5, 2016 Legal & Financial
    Driving by mature citizens is one of the most difficult issues we face as a society. Although we all agree that aging can impair certain functions required to drive, such as eyesight, we do not agree on when the impairment reaches the point that driving is not safe. Legally, in Massachusetts, the test for driving is applied on a case by case basis.

  • Are your “affairs in order?”  I have decided that the answer depends on many factors such as your health, age, marital situation, and family situation. It can be so much more than just wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies.

    Getting Your Affairs in Order

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published December 14, 2015 Legal & Financial
    Are your “affairs in order?” I have decided that the answer depends on many factors such as your health, age, marital situation, and family situation. It can be so much more than just wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies.

  • In some cases, people pay more in legal fees to access assets that were left out of a trust than the assets are worth. I have taken to advising my clients to simplify by liquidating all their “little” assets. If you are not sure exactly what you own, here is what to do.

    Simplify! Your Heirs Will Thank You

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published October 20, 2015 Legal & Financial
    In some cases, people pay more in legal fees to access assets that were left out of a trust than the assets are worth. I have taken to advising my clients to simplify by liquidating all their “little” assets. If you are not sure exactly what you own, here is what to do.

  • Durable Power of Attorney in Massachusetts is a document solely for managing the financial affairs of another person and has little to do with the Principal's health, except paying for it, of course.

The Health Care Proxy is the only legally binding document in Massachusetts for making health care decisions on behalf of another person (see my previous post on MOLST).  It is relatively new, being created by statute in the 1970s, so I still see some clients who created some type of living will document early in their adult lives and never upgraded to a Health Care Proxy.

    Is it a Health Care Proxy, a Durable Power of Attorney or a Living Will?

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published September 23, 2015 End of Life Care
    Durable Power of Attorney in Massachusetts is a document solely for managing the financial affairs of another person and has little to do with the Principal's health, except paying for it, of course. The Health Care Proxy is the only legally binding document in Massachusetts for making health care decisions on behalf of another person (see my previous post on MOLST). It is relatively new, being created by statute in the 1970s, so I still see some clients who created some type of living will document early in their adult lives and never upgraded to a Health Care Proxy.

  • Probate as a Dirty Word — Part 2

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published August 25, 2015 Legal & Financial
    When a person dies, he or she usually owns a variety of different types of assets. Real estate, life insurance, bank accounts, etc. The family needs to figure out who will inherit these various assets now that the original owner is dead. So now you understand that when a person dies owning assets which do not tell us who inherits them, we need to look to the decedent’s will (if the decedent has a will) to determine who inherits the assets. Such assets are those owned by the decedent in his or her individual name and which do not name a beneficiary. For those assets we need probate.

  • What does probate mean?"  or "Doesn't a will avoid probate?"  It is easy to forget that what seems obvious to a lawyer is not necessarily obvious to our clients.  Within the past two years, Massachusetts introduced a new form of probate called Informal Probate.  With informal probate, there is no notice period before the appointment of the Personal Representative, no court oversight,  and there is no follow-up paperwork to file with the court after the Personal Representative receives the Letters of Authority.

    Probate as a Dirty Word — Part I

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published July 28, 2015 Legal & Financial
    What does probate mean?" or "Doesn't a will avoid probate?" It is easy to forget that what seems obvious to a lawyer is not necessarily obvious to our clients. Within the past two years, Massachusetts introduced a new form of probate called Informal Probate. With informal probate, there is no notice period before the appointment of the Personal Representative, no court oversight, and there is no follow-up paperwork to file with the court after the Personal Representative receives the Letters of Authority.

  • MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.  In some states, they call these orders POLST for Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.   Generally speaking, MOLST is a document which gives medical orders about life-sustaining treatment for patients with an advanced illness.  MOLST is not intended for use by healthy people.

    FAQ: Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST)

    By Margaret A. Hoag, J.D.
    Published June 24, 2015 End of Life Care
    MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. In some states, they call these orders POLST for Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Generally speaking, MOLST is a document which gives medical orders about life-sustaining treatment for patients with an advanced illness. MOLST is not intended for use by healthy people.

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