The Importance of an Estate Plan

By Eric Rothenberg –

Managing your assets is a very important part of your life. You plan and budget for any large purchase and you maintain the things you own while they are in your possession. However, many people fail to realize that it is just as important to manage your assets for the end of your life. This is something estate planning attorneys can assist you with.

If you die without a will in the state of Massachusetts, everything you own is divided among your heirs according to Massachusetts intestacy laws. The division of your property depends on the kinship of your surviving relatives. The state, not you, controls who inherits your property. For example, if you die without children but have siblings, your spouse and your siblings and your parents share in the estate. Most people do not want that.

Estate planning attorneys can help you with the creation of a will so that you can control how everything is disbursed among your relatives. Creating a will saves your family the grief of trying to muck through the confusing and generic intestacy laws and the lingering questions of how you would have wanted your estate handled. Estate planning attorneys not only help you set up your will, they can also assist your family throughout the probate process.

You can further ease the complication of passing on your property by setting up your assets in a way that avoids probate. A living trust allows you to transfer ownership of your property to a trust, while still maintaining possession of the property. The best part of a living trust is that you can designate who receives what, and, if it is set up a certain way, you can reduce or eliminate any applicable estate taxes. In particular, life insurance owned by a trust, if properly drafted, is NOT included in your estate at all. You can even reserve some rights and it’s still not in your estate.

End of life decisions need to be discussed with your family. Deciding the best course of action for your estate and documenting your wishes needs to be handled by someone with experience and training. Feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys for a consultation.