Estate planning is something that everyone should think about. Some perceive it as something needed only by the rich, but it’s equally important for those who are not rich. Estate plans can help eliminate financial burdens on your family and instead provide valuable financial support for them after you are gone. Here are several possible components of Massachusetts estate plans.
A will is probably one of the most important components of Massachusetts estate plans. It’s where you outline your wishes for distribution of your assets. Which family members should receive what assets? Which family members should be excluded from receiving anything? How should your wishes be executed? Your will may contain any number of instructions. In order to ensure that your wishes are carried out, you would also name a Personal Representative to manage your affairs.
Durable Power of Attorney
In addition to preparing for an untimely death, you should also prepare for situations where you are unable to make decisions for yourself. For instance, undergoing a serious illness or being in a coma would prevent you from handling day-to-day responsibilities such as paying your bills. A durable power of attorney gives someone else the power to manage your finances and make importance decisions. It can be limited or broad in scope, depending on your needs. Selecting the right person is just as important as having something in place to begin with.
Health Care Proxy
In cases of illness or disability, you may also want to select one or more persons to make health decisions on your behalf. A health care proxy does exactly that. You may designate one or multiple people, but keep in mind that this sometimes leads to disagreement or dispute among those decision makers.
Trusts are a legal instrument that can help you avoid probate (the court process of settling your estate). There are different types of trusts depending on your specific goals. Trusts can be used to:
- Minimize or Avoid Estate Taxes
- Provide Specific Support to Underage Dependents
- Preserving Assets for One or More Family Members
- Creating Support Mechanisms that Extend Beyond Your Immediate Beneficiaries (to Future Generations)
More on Components of Massachusetts Estate Plans
Your specific plan is likely to include several or all of the above components of Massachusetts estate plans. Since your assets, debts, and family dynamics are unique to you, it is important that your estate plan is tailored to fit your specific needs and goals. Contact our team of Massachusetts estate planning attorneys to schedule a consultation and get started.