Most Massachusetts residents are already taking care of their families’ day-to-day needs. However, it is equally as important to take care of their needs in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. Furthermore, if a member of your family is unable to take care of themselves due to an accident or illness, it might fall on you to take care of your loved one. Fortunately, estate planning can help you take care of your family under any of these circumstances.
Massachusetts residents are most familiar with the documents that provide for the distribution of property after death through the use of wills, trusts and other methods of passing on assets through operation of law. For example, retirement accounts and life insurance policies have beneficiary designations indicating who will receive their funds after the owner’s death. However, there is much more to estate planning than just providing for family after death.
Powers of attorney for health care and finances can be drawn up to appoint an agent to make medical and/or monetary decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated for any reason. These documents can be either broad or limited, depending on your desires. For those times when a family member is incapacitated and does not have powers of attorney, you can go to court to be appointed guardian and/or conservator over your loved one.
The best benefits of estate planning are that it is flexible and adaptable. Documents can be tailored to your needs and wishes. People are often cautioned, however, not to attempt to create an estate plan without an attorney. Certain provisions are required to make the documents effective, and if they are not properly executed, they might be declared invalid when they are needed.