There is so much going on in the world that we can’t control, but there’s one important matter that’s within our control—the ability to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our assets with estate planning. Take that renewed energy you have from the arrival of spring and focus on taking care of you and your family.
Questions to ask yourself:
Do you have an estate plan?
If you don’t have any plan, then it’s time to do your estate planning. Life is unpredictable and it’s best to put an estate plan in place now so it’s there when you need it. Even if you don’t feel like you have many assets, you’ll likely be surprised how quickly the assets you have add up. Your assets include your bank accounts, equity in real estate, investments and annuities, IRAs, 401Ks, and other retirement accounts, vehicles, antiques, business interests, and life insurance policies.
You can also save time and money by making sure your estate avoids Massachusetts probate court.
Does the estate plan you have still do what you want it to?
We can always depend on life to change. Are the executor or trustee still alive and are they still the best choices for those positions? Have you moved out of state, gotten a divorce, been remarried, or enjoyed the addition of a new child into the family? Are your listed beneficiaries still the people you want to give your assets to? So many things can change in life that can impact your Massachusetts estate plan.
Do you have a power of attorney to act on your behalf in private affairs, business, or legal matters in case you become incapacitated or are simply absent and need someone to act for you?
If you’re unconscious in a hospital bed, who will pay your bills or manage your property? Without a power of attorney, a conservator will have to be appointed, which is an expensive, stressful, and time-consuming process. Doing your estate plan now is a much better option.
Do you have a health care proxy and a living will so you have a designated person who has the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you can’t do so yourself and can refer to an outline of your medical treatment wishes?
If the answer is “no,” you may not be treated the way you want to if you become incapacitated. If long-term decisions need to be made and loved ones can’t agree about what to do, a probate judge may have to make a ruling.
Is there a plan in place so your minor children will be taken care of if something happens to you?
If you’re a parent of minor children who are counting on you, you should do your estate plan to ensure your children will always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens.
Have your adult children (18 years of age and older) created the necessary legal documents so you can assist them with their health care, financial, and legal affairs if they are in a sudden accident or struggle with an illness?
Once your child becomes 18 years old, they are seen as an adult in the eyes of the law. That means that as a parent, you no longer have the legal authority to make health care decisions or manage money for them. It’s like you’re sending your child into the world without a safety net.
There is no time like the present to do your Massachusetts estate plan or update an existing one. As an experienced Massachusetts estate planning attorney, I can work with you to put a comprehensive estate plan together to protect you, your family, and your assets. Contact us today for a free consultation.