The Benefits of Estate Planning (Part I)

By Attorney
Erin L. Nunes, Esq.

We know that no one likes to think about death. Which is why many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning.  Because it’s for when you die, right?  Wrong!  When done the right way, creating an estate plan makes your life better.

It’s all about intentional living. I have found that talking with clients about estate planning helps them be more grateful for today and really focus on what matters. Here are some other things that estate planning does for you while you are alive:

  • Allows you to put the appropriate and effective legal documents in place to allow someone you trust to make your health care, financial and legal decisions during a situation where you might be incapacitated (i.e. unconscious, cognitive impairment diagnosis, coma, etc.); 
  • Inspires you to think about the real meaning of your life, what you want to pass on beyond your life and what’s most important to you now;
  • Helps you think through how you want to be cared for at the end of your life and lets you name someone to make those good decisions for you;
  • Has you think about your money, who you want it to go to, how you want it handled, what you want it to do in the world after you aren’t here;
  • Names someone to care for your children in case you can’t;
  • Helps you minimize taxes;
  • Let’s you provide for a special needs child or other loved one without disrupting their governmental benefits;
  • Protects assets – yours or your children’s – from lawsuits and creditors;
  • Enables you to gift portions of your estate to your children or charities while you are still alive in a tax-advantaged way that inspires wealth creation instead of depletion;
  • Helps you plan for your own long-term care in a way that won’t deplete your estate.

Of course, having an estate plan also offers you peace of mind that you have done what you could to protect loved ones and pass on your assets efficiently after death.  Having an estate plan in place before you pass guarantees that:

  • Your personal property and assets will pass to the people you want to have them;
  • You spare your family the expense and pain of having to go through the probate process;
  • Your minor children are provided for in the way you choose, with a guardian named to raise them with your values and a trusted adviser in place to manage their finances until they come of age;
  • Your assets are protected for your heirs by setting up a trust with a distribution option for when they reach adulthood (or other milestones of your choice);
  • Beneficiaries have been named for retirement and other financial accounts as well as life insurance policies so the assets in these accounts go to the people you choose
  • The financial privacy of your family is protected.

In light of what we have all learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the perfect time to create a plan that spells out how you will pass on your values, beliefs and your money to your children.  You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.

©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.