Considering the future can be a daunting task. The unknown can be stressful and worrisome.
Thinking about a time when you may be incapacitated or no longer here is difficult, and it’s understandable that many people simply avoid it.
Additionally, you may just assume your loved ones will act as you would wish, or that your estate isn't large enough to warrant a legal plan. However, an estate plan is necessary for people in a wide variety of personal and financial situations.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is making decisions and preparing documents today that ensure your wishes are met in the future, either when you're no longer able to make these decisions for yourself; or you pass away.
An estate plan comprises any number of documents, including wills, trusts, healthcare directives, and much more. These plans address everything from who will care for your children, how to grow and protect various financial assets, strategizing long-term care needs, and securing your family's financial future. Estate planning is an ongoing process because life is constantly changing. The most effective plans are evaluated and updated periodically to reflect your most current needs and wishes.
An Estate Plan Can Address All Aspects of Your Life
An effective estate plan is comprehensive, and clearly states what you would like to be done in many different situations. It can help you address:
- Your own long-term care. Who will make decisions when you can’t? How will your care be paid for? What type of care do you want? You can make choices today to help your family tomorrow.
- Your children. An estate plan will state who will take your children if they're young and need guardianship. During what will surely be a difficult time for them, the transition will be made easier when there's a clear path you have set to follow.
- Asset division. If you have older children, or if you have certain items you’d like younger children to inherit, it’s best to clearly divide your assets now. This can prevent confusion and strife among family members during an already emotional time.
- Taxes. Taxes, probate, and other fees can drain your estate, sending your hard-earned assets to the government, rather than your loved ones or important charities. A proper estate plan can help you avoid some of these costs.
- Charitable giving. If you have favorite charities or work for special causes, you can leave behind a lasting legacy with them.
- Special needs. If you have a child or another loved one with special needs, their care and wellbeing can be complex. It’s important to have a plan in place that both protects them and ensures their continued success.
- Power of attorney. You can name the specific person you want to make decisions for you or manage your estate after you're gone. In this way, you're able to make your wishes clear and avoid speculation and arguing.
Learn From An Experienced Lawyer
Making an estate plan isn't an easy task. These decisions are emotional and can have significant consequences on you and your loved ones' futures. But the truth is, you have an estate plan whether you dictate one or not—the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will do what it thinks is best with your assets after you die if you don't outline definitive plans, without consideration for your wishes. This is why it’s important to make a plan today.
Michael Monteforte, Jr. is a skilled estate planning attorney who helps individuals and families protect the legacy they’ve worked hard to obtain. He focuses solely on estate planning and elder law. He's seen his family members suffer because they didn’t have effective plans in place and doesn't want his clients and their families experience the same difficulties.
You can be sure you're doing more for your future than making a simple will by enlisting the help of Monteforte Law, P.C. Our estate plans are fully customized and focused on what’s most important to you. Call our Wilmington office today to schedule a consultation in person, on the phone, or through video chat.