It is not unusual for individuals, including those in Massachusetts, to have misconceptions about estate planning. They may think that they do not need wills because they are not wealthy, only have a few assets or that they can wait until they are older to create a plan. However, these notions may not prove true as anyone at any time could need an estate plan.
It was recently reported that a survey conducted by a wealth management company indicated that at least half of those surveyed do not have an estate plan. Additionally, one quarter of the married individuals who participated in the survey stated that only one spouse knows where important documents are kept. Both of these results could present issues for individuals when the time comes to address an estate.
When parties do not have wills or do not know where the documents relating to the estate plan are kept, surviving family may not know what their loved one's final wishes were. Furthermore, without those documents, a judge will decide how the estate should be divided, according to state law. As a result, an estate may be distributed in a way that the deceased would not have wanted, which could negatively affect surviving loved ones.
It is understandable that bringing up such a topic with family can be uncomfortable for many Massachusetts residents. However, dealing with momentary discomfort may be beneficial in the long run as individuals can better create their wills and help family members understand their wishes. Individuals interested in getting started on their plans may wish to speak with experienced attorneys.
Source: thestreet.com, "As Americans Blanch at Estate Planning, Financial Advisors Need to Spur Clients to Action", Brian O'Connell, April 12, 2017