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Taking it a step beyond wills and trusts

Massachusetts residents have often heard that an estate plan is essential in order to provide for loved ones after death. Many people know that wills and trusts are the most often used documents to pass on assets to heirs and beneficiaries. However, another step could help the executor of the estate and family members after an individual passes away.

Wills and trusts deal with the mechanics of how and to whom assets are to be passed on to the next generation. However, any specifics, including the thought process behind how the estate is structured may not be in those documents. Account numbers, locations of assets and information regarding real property are just some of the things that an executor and family will need to know upon death.

Without this information readily available, it could cause confusion and frustration for those left behind. An asset could also be missed, causing the executor to have to go back later to take care of its distribution. Leaving an instruction letter that includes crucial information relating to all of an individual's assets could alleviate these problems. It may also provide a private way to communicate to everyone why the estate plan is set up a certain way.

This could forestall any potential arguments or contests to the wills and trusts of Massachusetts residents. Providing independent verification that an estate plan is set up in accordance with a person's wishes would be ample proof that a will is valid. It may also be a comfort to family members left behind to receive something personal after a loved one passes away.

Source: investingdaily.com, Making Your Estate Plan Personal, Bob Carlson, March 7, 2014

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