An Experienced Attorney Ready to Meet All Your Estate Planning Needs
Amy Mello has worked with clients to prepare estate planning documents that are designed to fit their unique needs and goals. For nearly two decades, she has drafted, used and worked extensively with wills and many different types of trusts (e.g., Special Needs Trusts, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Realty Trusts (a/k/a Nominee Trusts) in order to provide her clients with estate plans tailored to fit their family and financial circumstances and achieve their planning goals.
In addition, the Law Office of Amy S. Mello, LLC also drafts durable powers of attorney and health care proxies. Amy Mello also helps her clients use current homestead laws to maximize protection of the equity in their homes.
Protecting Real Estate with Homestead Laws
Homestead laws are designed to protect your principal residence from the claims of creditors. Generally, no attachment may be obtained against real estate that is protected by a homestead. The extent to which your home, including land and buildings, is protected from creditors depends on the equity you have in your home and the size of your homestead exemption. Without taking any action, the owners of a principal residence may share an automatic homestead exemption of $125,000. This protection against “attachment, seizure, execution on judgment” may be increased to $500,000 by preparing a written declaration of homestead, executing it and recording it at the registry of deeds where the home is located.
Additional protection is available for the elderly (which, pursuant to the Massachusetts homestead laws is someone at least 62 years of age), as well as disabled owners of a home, as each of them is entitled to a $500,000 homestead exemption, which need not be shared; that is, two elderly owners can each obtain a $500,000 homestead exemption, resulting in $1 million of combined protection for their home. Protection may also be obtained for a principal residence held in a trust. For more information, you can reference Massachusetts Homestead Statute G.L. c. 188, §§ 1-14.
Naming Durable Power of Attorney
One or more person may be named to act on your behalf with respect to your finances and assets using a durable power of attorney (DPOA). A durable power of attorney may be “present” or “springing” in nature; that is, a “present” durable power of attorney immediately gives the person(s) you name to stand in your shoes, and act as your attorney-in-fact, current power to act for you, even when you are of sound mind and capable of doing things for yourself. A “springing” durable power of attorney does not immediately empower your attorney-in-fact when you sign it, but springs to life when you become disabled and/or incapacitated and can no longer, in the written opinion of your physicians, handle your own financial affairs. The powers granted to your attorney(s)-in-fact may be extremely broad and can include the power to gift, handle tax matters and do further estate planning for you. It is in your DPOA that you will nominate person(s) to serve as your guardian and conservator should either, or both, later need to be appointed by a court. The DPOA is a powerful estate planning tool that Atty. Amy Mello can tailor to your needs.
Choosing Someone to Serve as Health Care Proxy
Only one person is permitted to serve as your health care agent at any one time. Successor or backup individuals, however, may also be named. Your agent(s) has no power to receive your medical information and make informed health care decisions for you until you are determined to lack the capacity to make or communicate health care decisions for yourself.
Ready to Get Started? Contact the Firm Today.
If you have questions about estate planning or need help drafting or amending an estate plan, contact the Law Office of Amy S. Mello, LLC. You can call the office in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, at 508-276-2578, or reach out online.