What do we do?
"Most mornings, around 6 a.m. I brew some coffee at home and read for 45 minutes.
I focus on the law involving wills, trusts, or post death administration of these estate planning approaches. I time my reading after finding that 45 minutes (at a sitting) to be my optimum for my understanding and retention.
Because all my work is focused on this one area, I often see my reading put into use daily, often multiple times in a week.
I've been doing this for about 20 years. When I finish, I put a bookmark in place and go to the office.
During the work day, I try to communicate with each prospective person or client in as plain English as I can. Like a farmer, I arise early so others don't have to. I love the morning, and the quiet. And learning on a daily basis. So, come talk about your own estate planning."
Joel Bernstein, April 2018
MA Wills and Trusts:
The Only Law We Practice
"Joel Bernstein and his staff were extremely helpful in helping with our estate planning. He was incredibly knowledgeable, and very patient as we worked out complicated details. I would highly recommend him for both simple and complex issues. Over the years his office has written to us twice a year - alerting us to changes in our lives or the law. We appreciate this dedication."
"He gave us advice about how to integrate our IRA retirement accounts into our estate planning - it was very useful, straightforward advice."
Joel was great in helping my husband and I with our estate planning. He was incredibly knowledgeable, and very patient as we worked out complicated details. I would recommend him for both simple and complex issues.
We concentrate in this area of law, and I've studied many aspects of MA estate planning using wills, and particularly trusts, for 25 years.
Through regular, early morning study, I've kept away from trying to master many (too many) areas of law. And by studying a single area (or two).
Another's website frequently shows many areas of law - one after another. Instead, I want to know one, well.
Easier to understand
Plain English for you and your family (when you're gone). And for 24 years we've uniquely updated clients twice a year on law changes, reminding them about changes in their own lives as well.
Recognized in field
Conceived and edited chapter in 119 year old treatise Loring and Rounds: A Trustee's Handbook. Regular lecturer to professionals on income taxation of trusts and estates. Former American Bar Association columnist on technology. Three major law articles.
Efficient post death system
We've taken the time and effort to systemize accomplishing the steps needed after death. The bereaved appreciate this approach and the Trustee's Handbook takes note. So we can expedite post death administration of trusts and probate of wills - while giving the client a better understanding of the process.
Non-U.S. Citizens - Green card holders
This is one of the areas we frequently deal with. There are special concerns, both during life and after a death has occurred.
Over 25 years in the field. Over 2500+ trusts and wills.
Would you like a quick overview?
Click on the video to see our approach.
From the TV interview on Lexington cable, August 2016. Discussing:
- the basics of wills and trusts
- how he works with clients
- the importance of keeping your estate planning up-to-date
How to make it more readable
But remember that legal drafting involves precision and they cannot be read like a book or newspaper. It is a technical subject. I like to think of our work as 'Plain(er)' and not easy to digest without some focus by the reader.
About Joel Bernstein
As a practicing attorney, I write wills, living trusts, and irrevocable trusts on a daily basis. (It's all I really do). Also, following a death, our office does what needs to be done - striving to efficiently take the proper steps. We make it less bewildering.
I'm also academically interested in knowing all about these areas of law - so I've been reading books and law review articles on the Massachusetts living trust for about 25 years. To get better at all this, I start (most) mornings about 6 a.m. and read in my house - with a strong cup of black coffee, or two.
After my morning reading, I often walk to work; I both live and work in Lexington.
After doing this for about 25 years, I've learned a bit. And after talking with thousands of people I've tried to learn how to listen carefully to people when we discuss their estate planning. To keep it as direct as possible, I purposely avoid a computer or phones in the conference room; this is too important to mix up with distractions. I want to give my focus and undivided attention to you when we meet. (No cell phones on the table, please!)
So you can get all the nuance you want in your estate planning with wills and trusts.
Since I've written so many trusts and wills, I saw a need many years ago to be organized when a death occurs.
Professor Charles E. Rounds, Jr. - a noted authority in the field and editor of the 119 year old national treatise Loring and Rounds: A Trustee's Handbook - has commended our office for our work in this book. We strive to make the post death administration less bewildering and frantic.
I assume (unless you tell me otherwise) that you'd like to better understand your estate planning legal documents. You won't understand it all. But I want to communicate it as well as I can, so I've studied, practiced law, and publicly spoken on the topic of using plain English in this field.
Clients have come from most of the towns north, west and south of Boston. Here are some estate planning locales we've provided: Lexington, Newton, Belmont, Winchester, Bedford, Waban, Weston, Newton Centre, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Cambridge, Arlington, and Boston. Clients extend to Barre, MA. We've done MA estate planning, wills, and revocable living trusts for people in all these towns.
Our office works with (children of) clients throughout the U.S. to assist after a client's passing. This includes Utah and California.
Addiction, Substance Abuse, Other Disorders and Estate Planning: If desired, we can include more complete provisions about a 'dual track' approach that models the highly successful physician/pilots programs. Call us to discuss in greater detail. We base this on the leading work in the U.S.
Non-U.S. Citizens/Green card holders: If you are married to a person who falls into this category, you may need additional estate tax planning to avoid estate taxation after the death of the first person. Call us to discuss in greater detail.
Abit of legal humor - Permission of New Yorker
"If we take a late retirement and an early death, we'll just squeak by."