Nicholas G. Xenos
Attorney at Law
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Nicholas G. Xenos, Esq.
108 Summer Street, #2A
Arlington, MA 02474
Phone: (781) 643-9600
Estate Planning Real Estate
WILLS & TRUSTS
Have you ever wondered what happens to a person's property if he or she dies without a will? If a person dies without a will, his or her property is distributed according to the laws of Massachusetts. Property in other states, such as a summer home, may be distributed according to the law of the state in which the property is located.
A will is a document which ensures that after your death your property passes to whom you want, and in the manner you want. A will can encompass your entire estate plan, or it may be only one part of such a plan.
Trusts can be used to help minimize the tax burden on your loved ones. By placing assets in a tax efficient trust, your beneficiaries can reduce their taxes and delay payment of taxes until they begin to withdraw from the trust. Furthermore, trusts can provide creditor protection, ease of management, and can ensure that your loved ones are not taken advantage of.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a document through which you, (the principal), empower another person, (the attorney-in-fact), to act in legal matters for you. Traditional Powers of Attorney expired when the principal became mentally incapacitated, the time when it was most important for such a document to be available. Today, a state statute allows a Power of Attorney to remain valid even upon the incapacity of the principal. In a Power of Attorney, the attorney-in-fact need not be a licensed attorney and is most often a family member or trusted friend.
HEALTH CARE PROXY
A Heath Care Proxy is similar to a Power of Attorney, but for medical matters only. Through this document, you (the principal), appoint a person (called the agent or proxy) to act in your stead for the purpose of making medical decisions. The proxy is not empowered to act until and unless your treating physician determines that you are incapable of making medical decisions. Until that time, the proxy has no power. Should you later become capable of making decisions on your own behalf, the proxy will again have no power.
LIVING WILL / ADVANCED MEDICAL DIRECTIVE
This document provides guidance to your Health Care Proxy in the event your medical condition is terminal. It often includes instructions regarding which "heroic measures" and treatments are to be administered or withheld. While not legally binding in Massachusetts, the Living Will / Advanced Medical Directive can be a valuable resource to your Health Care Proxy and treating physician.
State law provides that $500,000 of equity in a primary residence be exempted from the claims of most creditors, even in a bankruptcy proceeding. The exemption, formally called a "declaration of homestead", becomes effective upon its "declaration", or recording, at the local Registry of Deeds. There is no reason for any homeowner to be without this protection, which can be provided quickly and inexpensively, and no estate plan is complete without it.
PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
When the time comes, it will be necessary to administer your estate. My firm can continue to represent your interests until your assets are properly distributed, assisting those left behind in navigating the complex probate process.
If you require assistance with these selected areas of law, contact me. I am happy to answer your questions and discuss how I can be of service to you.