Estate and Advanced Planning Center
Our lead Estate Planning Attorney Catherine Lundregan Oatway is welcoming new clients with a free consultation!
Benefit from Catherine's years of Advanced Planning experience working with businesses, individuals and families. She makes it easy to protect you and your family's assets, whether it's a simple Will, a Trust or a complex wealth protection plan, attorney Oatway will help you navigate through Massachusetts complex Probate rules creating a plan that makes sense and protects.
Catherine holds a J.D. (Doctor of Law) from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University. She is a distinguished member of Wealth Counsel. An organization created by fellow attorneys committed to excellence in the areas of Estate Planning, Trusts, Asset Protection and Probate. Attorney Oatway is also a seasoned Trial Attorney with an outstanding track record in the area of Probate Litigation.
To discuss your situation and unique needs call today and speak with Probate Attorney Catherine Lundregan Oatway at (617) 479-0400.
We are often asked what an estate plan is and who needs one. The simple and sometimes surprising answer is that everyone over the age of 18 should have an estate plan, even if you do not own valuable property or have young children. Estate planning is about making sure your wishes are carried out when you are unable to express them yourself. Estate planning documents distribute your assets as you see
fit, allow you to make important health care decisions, and give an individual of your choosing the power to handle your financial affairs on your behalf. Without these documents, your loved ones will have to seek permission and guidance from the probate courts, which is expensive, time consuming, and may result in different outcomes than you would have wanted had you made these decisions yourself. It is never too early to begin planning and you can always adjust your plan as your life changes.
The most common documents that exist in a basic estate plan are Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, HIPAA Releases, and Living Wills.
We understand that you have many options when it comes to choosing a law firm to assist and advise you on planning your estate. What sets our firm apart is our genuine care for each client. We are in this business to establish fulfilling and trusting relationships with our clients. We appreciate that our clients are trusting us to help them take care of what is most precious to them. We build long-lasting relationships with our clients by truly listening and asking the right questions so that we can appreciate our clients' values, needs, hopes, fears, and aspirations. We are committed to helping you get a plan in place that is specifically tailored to you and your unique circumstances that you fully understand, written in plain English without legalese.
Specific Services: We offer a wide variety of estate planning services:
Wills: A Will is a legal document that distributes your property after you die. This property may include items of monetary or personal value, such as bank accounts, jewelry, furniture, or family heirlooms. A Will also appoints a guardian for minor children, directs payment of funeral expenses and other debts, and transfers real estate.
Trusts: A Revocable Trust provides for the management and distribution of assets following your passing. It also allows your loved ones to avoid the probate process with regard to the distribution of your property. The probate process is lengthy, public, and expensive. Often, your assets will be tied up for a year or longer before they can be accessed by your loved ones. Fortunately, assets held in Trust generally do not become a part of the probate process. A Revocable Trust also allows for a smooth transition of control in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot manage your financial affairs. It is a flexible document that can be changed to adapt to your unique life circumstances as time goes on. In addition, trusts can help you to shelter assets from the Massachusetts estate tax.
Disability and Incapacity Planning: In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to have an estate plan in place to ensure that your wishes are known and your loved ones are able to manage your affairs and take care of your minor children should the need arise. Of particular importance are “incapacity documents” which include a durable power of attorney, health care proxy, HIPAA release, and medical directive/living will, and appointment of a temporary guardian.
Durable Power of Attorney:
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes an Agent, appointed by you, to handle your financial affairs. Having an executed Durable Power of Attorney is useful because it allows banks and other institutions to work directly with your Agent on your behalf without requiring court involvement. Your Agent will have the ability to access your bank accounts, consult with financial advisors, and sign paperwork just as you could yourself.
Health Care Proxy:
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that appoints an individual to act as your Agent to make health care related decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions to your health care providers on your own.
A HIPAA release is a document required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It allows your health care agent to obtain protected health information on your behalf in order to make informed decisions about your care and to pay your medical bills.
Medical Directive/Living Will: These documents allow you to outline your wishes with regard to your end of life care. For example, your document can specify that you would not like to be placed on life support in the event that you are near death without reasonable chance of a meaningful recovery. Temporary appointment of guardian for minor children: this document allows you to nominate someone to care for and make decisions regarding your minor children in the event you are unable to do so.
Charitable Giving: We provide advice regarding charitable giving and can help clients establish private family foundations to facilitate creating an enduring legacy for them and their family.
Estate planning for college students and young adults: Every adult over the age of 18 is fully responsible for making decisions regarding their health care and finances. Because of the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), parents have no legal right to access their adult children's medical records or to obtain information from their doctors. This roadblock makes it very difficult for parents to help their child in case of an emergency. We recommend that every young adult over the age of 18 have an updated Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Release, and Durable Power of Attorney, and FERPA Waiver so that their parents can immediately help a young adult child who gets sick or injured.