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Estate Planning Help For Individuals And Families

Many individuals and families — throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts — put off estate planning until it is too late. If you become incapacitated or something unexpected happens, do you know what will become of your assets? Will they go to intended loved ones?

Estate planning allows people to take the burden off of loved ones by simplifying the transfer of assets from one generation to the next and reducing any associated legal costs. It may even minimize estate taxes. As anyone familiar with the probate process can attest, an effective estate plan is a true gift to loved ones.

Our Lawyers Can Help You Think Through All Important Decisions

Many people put off the estate planning process because they are intimidated or have preconceived notions. While the process can be complex and fact-specific, experienced counsel can help you tailor an effective estate plan to your specific financial circumstances, goals and needs.

At Bernazzani Law, our attorneys work directly with clients to understand your unique situation. Our hands-on, personalized approach to legal services serves as a hallmark of our approach; we are sensitive to the needs of every client and fuse comprehensive knowledge with compassion and empathy.

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Crafting A Last Will And Testament

A will is an incredibly important and useful estate planning tool. A will can define guardianship of a minor-aged child, designate charities or people who will receive gifts and account for other asset/property distribution specifications.

Why You Need A Will

If an individual dies without a will or "intestate," his or her estate is wholly subject to state intestate succession laws and assets are distributed as statute dictates. This means that assets may pass to unintended parties.

To protect your estate and assets, contact an attorney at Bernazzani Law. With more than half a century of combined estate planning experience, we are dedicated to providing estate planning solutions tailored to your individual needs.

We will work directly with you and draft a will and other supplemental documentation to account for your specific circumstances, needs and goals. We encourage you to get in touch.

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Using A Trust For Estate Planning

Trusts are among the most important and effective estate planning tools. A trust can be used to protect assets, maximize privacy and, when properly drafted, minimize taxes. A trust can also be customized to meet the specific needs of you and your family with regard to transferring assets and funds to a spouse, child or other designated party.

Creating A Trust That Suits Your Family's Unique Needs

By establishing a living trust, an individual can retain control over a trust's assets during his or her lifetime. This includes being able to define how assets are managed and distributed.

In contrast, once established, the terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be changed. This type of trust can be an effective tool for limiting estate taxes and protecting assets. In addition to living and irrevocable trusts, there are a number of other trusts that can be tailored to meet your needs and those of your family members.

If you or your loved ones are working through estate planning issues and wish to establish a trust, we will help you address and account for each and every potential issue.

We encourage you to get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys as soon as possible. Our approach, honed over decades of practice, has helped hundreds of families reach ideal solutions for their needs. We are ready to help you do the same.

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Guidance Through Probate In Nashua And Beyond

In the event of death without a trust, courts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts will oversee the administration of an estate in the probate process. In addition to the transfer of assets, this can include paying beneficiaries and creditors.

If a will exists, it has to be proved valid and a personal representative can oversee the remainder of the affairs. This includes heir notification, tracing/finding assets, submitting an inventory list, paying debt, submitting accounting and, finally, distributing the estate.

Providing Guidance During A Difficult Time

This process can be challenging for those who have never undertaken it and involves laws and deadlines. If you or your loved ones are faced with probate challenges or seek to avoid probate through estate planning, get in touch with our attorneys as soon as possible.

Our estate planning attorneys are prepared to bring more than half a century of experience to help you protect your financial interests if you are working through any estate issue. By working directly with clients, we have helped hundreds of people work through the probate process in the most efficient and effective ways that preserve a family and decedent's wishes as much as possible.

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Draft An Advance Directive To Express Your Wishes

There may come a point in life where you or a loved one is not able to communicate personal wishes related to medical care. In these cases, having an advance directive as part of an estate plan can provide clarity for doctors and family members.

At Bernazzani Law, our estate planning attorneys have more than two decades of experience and are prepared to help you establish an advance directive that meets your personal health care needs and goals. By taking the time to understand our clients' needs, we can help you address all issues of incapacitation in a way that aligns with your wishes and beliefs.

Clearly Communicate Your Wishes During A Stressful Time

During stressful health events and emergencies, advance directives provide loved ones clarity and peace of mind. These components of an estate plan allow someone to designate a family member or another person to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event that they are incapacitated, including:

Without an advance directive, family members or those close to you may not be certain how to address medical decisions, which is when painful, emotional disputes can arise. These disputes can lead to litigation and strained relations among family members. Our lawyers can draft an advance directive that leaves you in charge of your health care decision-making process.

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What Are Durable Powers Of Attorney?

Durable powers of attorney are extremely important in protecting your wishes if you become incapacitated and can no longer speak for yourself. In the case of a power of attorney, an agent is appointed, called the attorney in fact. This person can handle all financial decisions on your behalf. While this power of attorney is important for everyone, it becomes magnified with significant assets.

Our team at Bernazzani Law has helped hundreds of families work through estate planning issues by fusing our comprehensive knowledge with a hands-on approach to tailoring our solutions. We are prepared to bring this approach to work on any power of attorney issue with which you are faced.

What Does A Durable Power Of Attorney Do?

Advance directives appoint someone to make decisions for you when you are incapacitated. It can also detail your treatment preferences and aspects with respect to under what conditions you do not want life-sustaining treatments.

It is important to note that a durable power of attorney differs from a general power of attorney. In the latter, one can only act for you when you can competently act. "Durable" signifies that someone can make decisions even if you cannot.

If you are working through estate planning issues and wish to take advantage of a durable power of attorney, we are prepared to bring our years of experience to work for you.

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Clear Legal Help With Medicaid Issues

The Medicaid application is an extensive process where five years' worth of documentation must be provided in order to receive benefits.

Additionally, with the Medicaid application process, if you are not qualified for Medicaid and you apply, you could disqualify yourself for a longer penalty period that could have been avoided. As such, it is always important to be sure that you consult with an attorney prior to application.

Unfortunately, some people will apply without knowing the detailed rules and disqualify themselves. Had they made one or two small changes, they would have qualified. Often this simply means recategorizing an asset or two. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the disqualification, the length of time varies; it may mean simply redoing paperwork or years of disqualification.

Get Experienced Legal Representation On Your Side

If you are working through the Medicaid process, understand your rights and options by getting in touch with our experienced team.

Our years of combined experience ready us for absolutely any Medicaid process or planning issue. We will help you obtain all necessary documentation and work directly with you to understand your options and goals. From there we will do everything we can to help you obtain benefits and plan for you and your loved ones into the long-term future.

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Helping You With Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning can be an extremely important part of the estate planning process. If you or your loved ones are planning for Medicaid benefits, it is critical to retain experienced counsel that will help you develop a plan that fully protects you and your loved ones. At Bernazzani Law, we can help.

Attorneys Helping You Plan For The Future Effectively

Depending on where in life people are dictates how to properly plan for Medicaid issues. When applying for Medicaid, an applicant has to meet particular income and asset guidelines. As such, one must plan assets accordingly.

The further in advance you plan, the more opportunity might be there to convert a countable asset into an uncountable asset so that you end up retaining the benefit of more. A mistake that ends up classifying an asset as countable can cost Medicaid benefits, sometimes for years.

If someone has X amount in a bank account, for instance, a question might arise as to whether to spend that on months of nursing home expenses, prepaid burials or to set up an irrevocable trust. All these issues make huge differences — ones that can cost thousands when mistakes are made.

We will help you understand how to qualify for Medicaid and tailor our approach to your unique needs and dynamics.

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It Is Never Too Early To Start Planning. Call Us Today.

Bernazzani Law offers free consultations. For more information, or to discuss your situation and options with an experienced attorney, call 603-595-0600 or reach out to us via our online contact form.