Most of us will live to normal life expectancies and enjoy good health. Unfortunately, however, there is always the possibility that an accident or illness could make us dependent upon others.
It is important to have a carefully designed estate plan. Fear is not the best reason to talk about estate planning. However, we should consider what our loved ones could experience if we do not implement an estate plan:
- If you are incapacitated during your lifetime due to illness or accident and you lose the legal capacity to make financial or medical decisions, your family could be forced to file a guardianship proceeding. A guardianship proceeding is a costly court intervention into private family, financial, legal, and medical matters. This can be avoided with simple estate plan documents.
- If at the time of your death, you own real estate or assets in your name alone, your family would be required to institute a costly probate proceeding to transfer your assets to their intended recipients.
- Lack of clear written instructions on how your assets should be distributed could result in unnecessary disagreements among family members over items of very little monetary value.
- Dying without a Will could result in family members other than a surviving spouse receiving assets from your estate.
- Failure to properly take advantage of existing estate tax laws could result in avoidable Federal and Massachusetts Estate tax liabilities.
- An heir with tax problems, domestic relations creditors, or spendthrift issues may not benefit to the greatest possible extent from an estate share.
- Estate taxes, income taxes, disability, and death are the most common threats to financial stability. These dangers can be alleviated through comprehensive estate and financial planning.
On our Estate Planning F.A.Q. page, we will address these common estate planning issues and other estate planning questions we are asked most often.