Some Massachusetts residents may put off creating an estate plan because they are not comfortable contemplating their own deaths. While these feelings may be natural, not engaging in estate planning can make circumstances even more difficult for the family members who are left behind. Planning now can give everyone in a family peace of mind from the knowledge that estate distribution will be easier when the time comes.
There are two components of estate planning -- documents that cover what will happen after death, and those that cover incapacitation. Massachusetts residents who are conducting long term care planning also benefit from including health care powers of attorney, advanced directives and durable powers of attorney. As the name implies, a health care power of attorney allows an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf under certain conditions. An advance directive lets you make choices regarding end-of-life treatment. A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, allows the agent to make financial decisions for you.
Nearly every estate plan needs to include not only documents that will deal with the distribution of a Massachusetts resident's property after death, but also documents that become effective if he or she becomes incapacitated. This includes powers of attorney for both financial and health care issues, along with advance directives. Without these instructions and the appointment of someone to make decisions on his or her behalf, an individual's family could end up in a costly and time-consuming legal battle.
Many Massachusetts residents think about what will happen to their assets when they pass away. However, it is just as important to think about how those assets will serve a person while he or she is still alive. This is why the first order of business in estate planning is to determine just what an individual's estate is worth.
It may not surprise some Massachusetts residents that Joan Rivers knew for some time that her life was coming to an end. In anticipation of that fact, she engaged in estate planning that not only provided for her daughter and grandson, but also for herself. By executing an advance directive, Rivers' daughter was able to let her go in accordance with her wishes.
Many people in Massachusetts are aware that Casey Kasem's death was surrounded by controversy, and some say it may be in large part due to his failure to have a proper estate plan. When one party to a second marriage has adult children and marries someone within their children's age range, careful estate planning can help preempt future confrontations. Sitting everyone down and explaining how assets will be distributed in the event of the older spouse's death may put everyone's mind at ease.
Many older adults in Massachusetts are foregoing the marriage vows and living together. This may provide some advantages to many couples, but when it comes to what happens if one party becomes incapacitated or dies, it can be problematic. Cohabitation makes estate planning even more important in order to protect the surviving party.
As many Massachusetts residents are aware, Casey Kasem lent his voice to both television and radio for decades. Now, he is lying in an out-of-state hospital dying, and his family is fighting over how it will happen despite the fact that he signed an advance directive in 2007. His dilemma illustrates how sometimes families end up in court despite their loved ones having advance directives.
Contemplating mortality is not something most Massachusetts residents like to do. Even though logical people realize they are not going to live forever, death may still seem like a distant possibility. Therefore, many people fail to take care of their estate planning needs -- including the drafting and executing of a will.
Many Massachusetts residents with retirement accounts such as IRAs and other accounts that pass outside of a will probably filled out a beneficiary designation form when the account was first established. Depending on how long ago that was and what has gone on in their lives since, those designations may be out of date. An integral part of estate planning is ensuring the person set to inherit those accounts is still the one the account holder wants to receive them.