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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

How Estate Planning Can Help You in Different Life Stages

POSTED ON: June 18, 2018

Estate planning is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. As your estate planning firm, we’re here to help you through the various stages of your life.

For those who are young and single, these documents are important:

Will: A will ensures that certain financial and non-financial assets are passed to the people you want.

Durable Power of Attorney: This allows a person you trust to control your finances in the event that you become unable to do so yourself.

Health Care Proxy: Choose someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in case you become incapacitated.

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.

HIPPAA Power: This gives people you designate access to your health information.

For those who are married, have children or own property, these additional steps are important:

Will: Review your will and update as needed. Reviewing and updating your will is a critical step in every stage of life especially when big life events happen like a divorce, a new baby, death in the family, or a remarriage. Name guardians for your children so you have a say about who would raise your children if you weren’t there. Without a will, the courts will decide what happens to your kids if you pass away.

Revocable Trust: In the event you become incapacitated, this would allow for easier management of the assets in your trust and would help your assets avoid probate if you were to pass away. A trust can also hold assets to be managed for a minor if you have young children or other young beneficiaries.

Charitable Giving: There are many options for charitable giving within an estate plan. It’s a good idea to discuss your intentions with an estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes are fully thought-out, appropriately documented, and to ensure that the gift is mutually beneficial from a tax perspective.

For those in the mid-life and later, here are more ideas:

Irrevocable Trust: Irrevocable trusts are less flexible than revocable trusts, but they provide greater protection for the assets in them. Assets in the irrevocable trust may be excluded from your financial ability to pay for nursing home care, as long as they’re placed in the trust prior to the five-year look-back period for MassHealth eligibility.

MassHealth Planning: By utilizing strategies such as irrevocable trusts, gifting, converting countable assets into exempt assets, legal spend downs, and purchasing annuities and long-term care insurance, we can help arrange your assets to protect them from long-term care costs and qualify you for MassHealth assistance without losing your life’s savings.

Health Care Proxy and Living Will Review: As you get older, review who your health care agent is and your choices for end-of-life care. Sometimes as time passes, you might choose to make different decisions. It’s a good idea to update these documents every ten years.

Call us today at 617.299.6976 or send an email to mkarr@maheritagelawcenter.com to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation to discuss how we can help you maximize your legal strategies to protect yourself, your family, and your assets.