At AndoverLaw, P.C. our mission is simple. We aim to provide our clients with the best legal services available in the areas of
Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration, Protection of Elders, and Fiduciary Litigation.
AndoverLaw, P.C. is conveniently located at One Elm Square, Andover, Massachusetts. Our attorneys practice in the areas related to the protection of elders and the conservation of their assets. Our practice areas include estate planning, probate, estate administration, guardianships, conservatorships, Medicaid planning, Medicaid applications, Medicaid appeals and Trust administration. A significant portion of our practice involves recovering assets improperly taken from elders.
We also practice in those areas which are naturally related to the core of our practice. For example, we do estate planning and special needs planning for individuals of all ages. We handle will contests and contest other non-probate transfers where the property owner was incompetent or under undue influence.
Atty. Sullivan opened the office that is now AndoverLaw, P.C. in 1993. He brings to the practice of law a perspective based on an unusually broad framework of education and experience. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Music from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and the designation of Chartered Life Underwriter from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Massachusetts School of Law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Sullivan worked as a financial planner and owned a computer store which sold and installed accounting systems. While attending law school, he was a national account executive for a major corporation.
Atty. Sullivan concentrates his practice in the areas of estates, trusts, fiduciary litigation and elder law. His clientele include individuals, professional trustees, personal trustees, conservators, and counsel for trusts and estates.”
Admitted to all Massachusetts and New Hampshire Courts and the Federal Courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire
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.
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 a Personal Representative to gather 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 (Personal Representative) 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 navigate the legal process and to prepare necessary accounts as efficiently and painlessly as possible.
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.
Many Estate Planning Trusts use family members as Trustees. However, in those situations where a professional fiduciary is necessary, we work with our sister corporation, Oak Fiduciary Services Corp. and with several institutional trustees.
We will work with you to define and establish broad investment and distribution objectives. We do not provide investment advice.
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. In some cases, the family believes that someone (all too often a family member) took an elder’s money after the elder died or the elder suffered a significant reduction or loss of mental capacity. In other cases, the miscreant has used fairly sophisticated accounting techniques to wrongfully misdirect the assets of the estate. If you believe something like this has occurred, we will work with you to evaluate the matter and attempt to resolve it. If resolution is not possible, we will aggressively litigate.
The process of applying for MassHealth is complex and fraught with traps. For a flat fee, your attorney will work with you to assemble the two to five years of information required, complete the application and litigate any administrative appeals.
MassHealth laws are extremely complex. In many cases, their application deprives entire families of the fruits of their lifelong labors. When a family member needs nursing home care, AndoverLaw, P.C. works with elders and their families to legally and ethically preserve their hard earned nest egg. Obviously, the earlier that planning is started, the more successful the family will be at protecting their assets. However, unless savings and assets are entirely exhausted, it is almost never too late to start.
All too often, dementia or other forms of mental illness afflict elder clients. AndoverLaw, P.C. attorneys are well versed in the process of obtaining guardianships and conservatorships, obtaining court authority for exceptional care including, if necessary, institutional confinement, anti-psychotic medications, and exceptional medically necessary intervention procedures.
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.
One Elm Square
Andover, MA 01810
Phone: 978-470-2700 Fax: 978-470-3900
Mon-Fri 8:30 – 5:00