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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everyone,

Happy Wednesday!!! This week we have some very exciting news! Jason and I were both selected for the Massachusetts Super Lawyers 2014 Rising Star List!!! This is an award that is designated for no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Massachusetts. Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys that distinguish themselves in their legal practice. Selection is rigorous, and all Rising Stars are validated by third-parties based on their professional accomplishments.

As a result, our names will be published in the November 2014, New England Super Lawyers Magazine, Boston Magazine, in November 2014, and I will be included in The Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts special section in Boston Magazine, in April 2015. We are so incredibly excited and honored for this opportunity and cannot wait for even greater things to come. Not a bad way to put FLP on the map.

Speaking of maps, this week we’re going to talk about mapping out the future…for your parents.

It is not uncommon for folks to simply hold their breath and hope that their parents have all of their affairs in order. After all, if you don’t ask about it, it must be fine, right? I know…those exact same thoughts ran through my mind as I dealt with my father’s illness. Thinking about your parents, their aging, and whether they have all of their ducks in a row can be daunting, but this is truly one area where it pays to be proactive.

When it comes to estate planning, people don’t know what they don’t know. Commonly, people believe that if something is created once they will be set forever. We know that is not the case. Here are some things to consider discussing with your parents:

  1. Do you have one? – Have they even made an estate plan? Perhaps it has been on their “To-Do” list but they just haven’t gotten around to it. Remind them that they will never be younger or healthier than they are today and it’s better to get it done so there is no panicking later.
  2. Where is it? – This is a big one! Have them actually locate the documents and check to see if they have originals. If they simply have photocopies you will need to determine where the originals are located. Organization now saves a lot of aggravation in the future. There is no extra brain power when you’re stricken with grief.
  3. When was the last time it was reviewed? – Times change, relationships change, health and abilities change, and oh yea, the laws change! So do asset levels and taxes. Have an estate planning update along with a financial review. You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you’re starting.

Be mindful and sensitive when speaking with family members about their estate plan. It is not your job to tell them what to do or who to give what. However, it is helpful for you to gently remind them that that if something ever did happen, you would want everything to be properly handled and to know exactly where everything is. These questions are especially important if you know that it will be you dealing with the administration!

So remember, do you have one? Where is it? When was it reviewed? Three questions now that can make a world of difference later.

Until next time,

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.