WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Estate planning is a process where individuals specify how their money and other property will be managed after their deaths.
Many estate plans include wills, trusts, health care proxies, living wills and powers of attorney. Estate planning may sound like a fancy word, however when you think about it in the big picture it just involves drawing up and finalizing one or more of the above documents.
Create last will: The core of an estate plan is the last will and testament. These documents detail where the testator (the person writing the will) would like their property to go after death. In a will, the testator names an executor to carry out the distribution of the estate. The executor should be someone you trust and who is willing to accept the responsibility. If you die without a will, you are “intestate,” and everything you own is subject to distribution according to your state’s intestacy laws.
Name a power of attorney: A POA is a document that gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Whether it’s your executor or your durable power of attorney, choose people you can trust and who are capable of doing the job. Be sure to check with them first that they are willing to carry out the capacities in this role.
Don’t wait: It’s best to address estate planning while you are clear-headed and not facing difficult decisions. There is no better time than today to get started.
Don’t forget about pets: According to the law, pets are personal property. You should name someone to take care of your pet once you’re gone.
Plan for emergency and end-of-life care: This can be a living will, advance directive, or health care directive. A living will provides instructions about the medical care you do or do not want to receive. It goes into effect if you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself.
Here is the Massachusetts government site where you can find the forms and documents for download. It’s a great idea to do your own research so you know what to expect and empower yourself.
HOW DOES AN ATTORNEY MANAGE THIS?
Even if you think you have a simple estate, it’s smart to speak with a professional attorney to make sure you’ve got everything and everyone, covered. It is crucial that you get advice from an attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state. Learn more about estate planning on our services page here and previous blog here.
We at Tramontozzi Law Offices specialize in estate planning, and we invite you to call the office for a free consultation today. We understand it can be overwhelming and we will support you in the best way possible as your advocate.