- A woman came to us whose sister passed away leaving a handwritten will. The will was not self-authenticating and the witnesses where deceased or could not be found. In the will she made errors as to which assets fell to her probate estate and which did not. As a result she had life insurance and investment accounts that had named beneficiaries different from those named in her will. She also listed properties she no longer had and set up a pet trust for a cat that was no longer alive. Further, most of the sister’s estate was left to her mother who passed only weeks after she did. AndoverLaw, P.C. was hired to remedy these issues. We opened the mother’s estate and had a Personal Representative appointed to represent those interests. We then determined the best course of actions to carry out the wishes and intent of our client’s sister and drafted an Agreement to reflect these intentions. All heirs, devisees, and the Personal Representative of the mother’s Estate signed the Agreement, the Probate Court allowed the Will as agreed upon and we assisted out client in administering her sister’s estate including the sale of her condo.
- A couple in their mid-twenties came to us having just become parents for the first time. The husband owned a modest landscaping company and the mother worked part time out of the home and cared for their newborn. The attorney explained the various estate planning documents to the couple and drafted Health Care Proxies, Durable Power of Attorneys, Wills and a Family Trust for the Couple. The Wills nominated a guardian for the child should both parents pass away and the trust was set up to ensure the child would be taken care of. The attorney also suggested both parties obtain life insurance to ensure there was money to care for the child should one of both parents pass away. Due to the nature of his job, it was also suggested the husband obtain long term disability insurance. The couple left with the peace of mind knowing their child would be taken care of and their affairs were in order should anything happen.
- A real estate attorney in the area came to us with an issue one cold day in March. His client entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell a vacant piece of property in a high crime neighborhood, but died days prior to the closing. The buyers financing would fall through and they would not be able to purchase the property if the sale was not finalized quickly. Further, there was no one in place to manage the property should a break-in, fire, or freezing occur. The next day, an AndoverLaw, P.C. attorney attended an emergency hearing to have a Special Personal Representative appointed for the purpose of completing the sale. The closing happened the day after the hearing. Less than seven days later an AndoverLaw, P.C. attorney was back in court to have a permanent Personal Representative in place to administer the entirety of the Estate.
- A local Nursing Home referred a client to us whose mother had been denied benefits for Long Term Care by MassHealth for a disqualifying transfer of assets for less than fair market value. The mother transferred her home to her children in 2009. Approximately one year prior to her death in 2016, the mother invested over $100,000.00 to renovate and repair the home so she could remain living there. Weeks after the renovations and repairs were finalized, the mother was no longer able to remain in the home as a result of rapidly declining health. MassHealth considered the money spent for repairs and renovations a disqualifying transfers for less than fair market value because the mother had to move from the home weeks after the repairs were finalized. As a result, MassHealth would not pay for her stay in the Nursing Home and costs accumulated to total more than $100,000.00. The Nursing Home tried to hold the children responsible for the nursing home costs. AndoverLaw, P.C. petitioned the Court to appoint a Personal Representative for the mother’s estate and requested a MassHealth fair hearing to dispute the denial of benefits. At the hearing AndoverLaw, P.C., presented evidence to show that all renovations were done for the benefit of the mother and her intention was to remain in the home. MassHealth reversed their decision, the Nursing Home was paid, and the children kept the home.
- Working with an attorney/executor, we determined that a 1950s era ranch house had a market value of about $275,000. However, the lot was large and AndoverLaw investigated further to determine if the lot could be divided into multiple lots that could be sold separately to increase the size of the Estate to be distributed to the beneficiaries. AndoverLaw negotiated a land swap picking up frontage from a neighbor in exchange for some back land. After a quick trip to Land Court, we had three legal lots which sold to a developer for $500,000.
- A municipality contacted AndoverLaw regarding abandoned property. The city had attempted to seize a long vacant property through a condemnation proceeding. The Housing Court would not allow the sale until title was cleared and estate issues resolved. The heirs had not pursued selling the property because of a Medicaid lien. AndoverLaw located the heirs of the deceased property owner, obtained their approval to clean up the estate, opened a Probate, negotiated a settlement between the city and MassHealth, advertised, auctioned and sold the property. All parties were satisfied with resolution of the various problems.
- A family came to AndoverLaw with a real estate title issue. A poorly drafted will resulted in ambiguous ownership of the family home. We assembled all the interested family members and negotiated a settlement. AndoverLaw then drafted a Non-Judicial Settlement Agreement adopting the settlement and resolving the title issues, drafted a trust to manage and control the property, and transferred the property into the trust. All parties assented.