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Estate planning in the new year

The holidays are over, and people in Massachusetts are looking forward to a new year. At the beginning of the year, many people find themselves planning for the future, and for some, that includes an estate plan or will. Some of these individuals may be considering estate planning for the first time, and there are others who wish to edit an existing estate plan.

There are a number of things that a person can do to make his or her estate plan easy for family members to understand. Consolidating accounts can help family members to more easily sort or monitor a relative's finances. Limiting the number of credit cards can help to prevent an individual from accruing too much debt. However, closing too many accounts too soon can hurt a person's credit score. It can also help to automate payments when possible so that memory loss or a busy schedule does not cause payments to fall behind.

Naming a power of attorney can also help. Individuals who have been given power of attorney can make financial or health care decisions for the person who gave them the responsibility. It is also possible to name two different individuals, one to make financial decisions and another to make health care decisions. Storing important documents like a will, power of attorney forms, identification documents, property titles, or contact information in a home safe can help to ensure that family members, attorneys or those with power of attorney have access to the information that they need.

Estate planning can help to give individuals some peace of mind regarding how their assets and loved ones will be taken care of in the future. A local attorney can help Massachusetts residents to fully understand what options they have when making an estate plan. They can also help their clients include specific instructions in their wills if they wish to. 

Source: usatoday.com, "Estate planning: How to 'death clean' your finances", Liz Weston, Dec. 29, 2017

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