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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

5 Important Steps to Estate Planning

POSTED ON: December 26, 2018

No matter what stage of life you’re in—young or old, married or single—having an estate plan is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. Some people don’t think they have enough assets to need an estate plan right now, but that’s a misconception. Even if you have moderate wealth, you want to make sure that your family will easily have access to it if needed.

Here are the steps you can take to get that estate plan done:

  1. Create a list of your assets and decide how you’d like them to be distributed in your will.
  2. Meet with an estate planning attorney in the state you live in. You want to avoid making any mistakes in your estate plan, so it’s wise to use a professional who has the expertise to help you choose the estate planning strategies and tools that will work best for you. Find a lawyer you’re comfortable with who will listen to your specific situation and answer any questions you want to ask.
  3. Talk to your estate planning lawyer to understand the basics. For example, what is a will vs. a trust and which one is best for you? A trust has some advantages as it enables you to avoid the hassle, cost, and time of probate court. It also keeps the contents of your trust private vs. a will which becomes information available to the public. Also find out about a durable power of attorney, which allows a person you trust to control your finances in the event that you become unable to do so yourself, or possibly planning for MassHealth eligibility.
  4. Think about your health care. What if you become unable to communicate your wishes in regard to your health care? It’s important to have a health care proxy (someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in case you become incapacitated) and a living will. A living will works in conjunction with a health care proxy by expressing your wishes as to how your designated agent should proceed in specific circumstances such as how and when you wish to receive medical treatment in the event of a terminal illness.
  5. Outline your funeral wishes. Write them down and leave them with someone. Don’t put them in the will, as that will likely be read after your funeral.

Don’t put off doing your estate plan. We’d be happy to meet with you for a free no-obligation consultation at your convenience. And we bill on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises and you don’t have to hesitate to call us. Call us today at 617.299.6976 or send an email to mkarr@maheritagelawcenter.com, and we’ll help you take the next step to developing an estate plan that protects yourself, your family, and your assets.