Many clients fail to plan because they are under the assumption that estate planning is only for the wealthy. If you have any assets or any children, you have a need to plan. Estate planning is used to protect individuals and their loved ones of all ages and at all stages of life. Here are some reasons we’ve heard about why an individual does not have an Estate Plan:
1. “I am single.” Did you know that by not having a will you allow Massachusetts’s intestacy statute to dictate where your things go after you are gone? And without documents, in case of your incapacity, you do not get to designate who will make decisions – financial or medical – for you. An estate plan can do all of these things and more.
2. “I am young and will live a long time yet.” While this may be the case, we unfortunately never know when or if we will become incapacitated by a random accident or a sudden illness. You should plan and ensure your loved ones can help you in the best way possible as well as ensuring they are taken care of.
3. “I’m afraid that if I plan for it, I will die or become incapacitated.” We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this can happen even if you do not plan. Wouldn’t you rather make sure you have a plan in place to cover your needs and those of your family members? Wouldn’t this give you peace of mind?
4. “My children are too young to inherit anything.” This is a twofold problem. You need to have a mechanism in place that allows your children to inherit should you pass away that provides for your children in the way you design, not dictated by guardianship laws and court processes. Also, through planning you can designate who will be the guardian of your minor children and name who will make financial decisions until you determine your children are old enough to receive their inheritance outright. Why leave it all to the courts?
5. I am not wealthy so I do not need an “estate plan.” No matter how large of an estate you have, you still should have an estate plan. Estate Planning is the ability to control your assets during your lifetime, to plan for how your assets and your health will be used (and by whom) for your benefit during incapacity, and to determine to whom, how and when your assets will be transferred to your loved ones at your death. And that is something EVERYONE needs. Contact our office today to discuss what estate planning is and how you can benefit and get peace of mind from the estate planning process.
©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375. This article is for illustration purposes only. This handout does not constitute legal advice. There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article. DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this handout. Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney. Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.