It can be easy for Massachusetts residents to forget that estate planning is not just about transferring property to family and friends upon death. Some documents are executed that put plans into place in case you are unable to make decisions and/or care for yourself during life. Powers of attorney are important for any adult since none of us knows when an accident or illness may strike.
Every Massachusetts family has different needs and dynamics when it comes to financial, emotional and health issues. No one can accurately predict what will happen in the future, and it is advisable to be prepared for any eventuality. Estate planning options are available that can help in just about every circumstance.
It is easier to pass on some of a Massachusetts resident's assets than others. Some property requires extra steps during estate planning in order to properly distribute them after death. Two of these items are pets and airline miles.
Estate planning is about preparing for the future, and the sooner that Massachusetts adults create and execute a plan, the better off they and their families may be. Once the documents are executed, many people put them in a safe place and forget about them. The only problem is that estate planning does not end when the documents are signed since one of the few constants in life is that things are going to change.
The average cost of nursing home care across the nation is $80,000. Here in Massachusetts, it the average is $129,000. Therefore, residents may want to consider including long-term care in their estate planning.
Most Massachusetts residents are already aware of the benefits they receive by creating an estate plan. The benefits are not only for the person doing the estate planning but also for that person's family members. The more comprehensive the plan, the less work family members may have to do if a relative becomes incapacitated or passes away.
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.