Most people are aware that estate planning has benefits for everyone, but it is especially critical for seniors. Do you already have a power of attorney? What does it cover?
If your document is outdated or if you never created it, now is the time to revisit. You might be able to use a few different types of power of attorney, especially if you expect that your life plans may change and evolve in coming years. For financial and healthcare reasons, naming someone else may help you.
Although a basic estate planning might bring to mind a will, powers of attorneys should also be included in your plan. If your will was generated many years ago, there’s a high probability that things have changed. You might be missing current grandchildren, for example.
There are two different types of powers of attorneys that should be included in your basic estate plan.
The first is for healthcare decisions to allow someone else to step in and make medical choices on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
The other most common type of power of attorney is a financial one, that enables someone else to keep your family’s financial life moving forward and paying your bills if something happens to you.
You may wish to use other documentation and strategies as you put together your estate plan, but it is important to remember that these should all be created by an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer in Massachusetts.
Whether you’re heading off to the beach or hitting the mountains to enjoy some time with your family, you might feel like estate planning is nowhere on your priority list. It’s difficult to think about your own morbidity, but it’s also important to consider this before you head off on summer travel. Here are five different steps you need to take before hitting the open road or boarding that flight.
Check Beneficiary Designations
Make sure that your life insurance, your IRA and your 401(k) plans have accurate beneficiary designations. Since these often do not comply with the terms of your will, it’s good to keep them updated regularly.
Create a Will
It’s relatively easy to put together a will when you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney and it’s something you certainly must have just in case an accident occurs.
Name Guardians for Your Children
Whether or not you choose to make a will – and you certainly should – it is imperative that you name a guardian for your children. Otherwise you may have no say over what happens to your minor children if something were to happen to you and your spouse.
Create Health Care Documents
Death is not the only reason to consider your estate planning options. If something were to happen to you where you become incapacitated, you would want health care documents in place to articulate your wishes.
Create a Durable General Power of Attorney
A durable general power of attorney is an important document to have established well before you travel. This allows another individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated.
Although it’s difficult to think about your estate planning options, it’s a good idea to consult with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney now.
9When you approach the subject of estate planning in Massachusetts, you should know that it might look a little different for everyone. What works for one does not work for another because the strategies and tools of estate planning are aligned with your specific needs.
That being said, there are several documents that may be beneficial for consideration as you meet with your Massachusetts estate planning attorney. There are three major documents that are likely to be an overall part of your planning strategy, each helping you accomplish specific goals.
To start with, your last will and testament is frequently the cornerstone of your planning. It’s your chance to outline how you wish to pass your assets on to others. This helps avoid some of the downsides of the probate process while also giving you the chance to make these important decisions and protect them.
Second, think about the benefits of a power of attorney. This document allows you to name someone else who will have legal authority to act in your stead if you become incapacitated. You might also use a limited power of attorney, which specifics certain instances in which the agent is authorized to act.
Finally, a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will, often called an advanced directive in other states, are important documents to consider if you have specific wishes about your healthcare. If you have specific feelings about whether or not you want life-sustaining activities to stop if there is no chance of your recovery, your advanced directive is the place to articulate this. Without a document like this, your family members may disagree on the options and it can make a difficult time even more challenging for them.
These three documents are just a starting point. You’ll need to speak with your Massachusetts estate planning attorney to determine if there are other tools and strategies from which you can benefit.