At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our estate planning attorneys have assisted clients throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod in successfully planning their estates for well over a decade. In times of trouble, like the COVID epidemic, people are more inclined to be concerned about preparing for the unknown, but, ironically, because of the surrounding turmoil, may be less likely to make the time to do so.
The following 5 reasons for working with a knowledgeable attorney to create a strong estate plan should convince you that doing so is not only smart but necessary.
5 Reasons for an Estate Plan
Having a sturdy estate will:
- Provide you with a will in which you name your beneficiaries, choose a guardian for your minor children, and designate a personal representative (executor) to administer your estate (i.e. make sure that your assets are distributed according to your stated wishes).
- Create trusts that can serve many important purposes, such as:
- Avoiding probate: Trusts, unlike wills, permit the direct transfer of property to your beneficiaries without having to go through probate. This is desirable because probate, the process through which your will is validated, can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if you have a high-net-worth estate.
- Reducing taxes: In many cases, certain kinds of trusts can also lessen the tax burden, something our estate planning attorneys will be happy to discuss with you at greater length.
- Providing a safety net for family members with special needs: Special needs trusts enable relatives with disabilities to retain access to government benefits (e.g. Social Security Disability) while still receiving money from your estate to increase their pleasure and comfort.
- Protecting assets: Trusts are often an efficient way to keep your assets from diminishing due to creditors, scams, civil lawsuits, and settlements. Additionally, there are multiple kinds of trusts, each serving a special purpose, such as charitable trusts, spendthrift trusts, and even pet trusts.
- Avoid family squabbles or estrangements that too often occur when proper arrangements for inheritance haven’t been made. Our practice is family-oriented — our lead attorneys are brother and sister — so we know how important it is to reduce tension about asset distribution, the naming of a personal representative, and other estate planning matters among close relatives.
- Prepare for business succession so there will be a smooth transition when you pass away. You may choose one or more of your heirs to take over the business you’ve worked so hard to build. On the other hand, you may arrange for your business to be sold and the profits evenly divided among your family members. Whatever you decide, your business is part of the legacy you leave and you have the right to handle it exactly as you wish.
- Prepare for potential incapacity and end-of-life healthcare in order to see to it that your family is spared the misery of not having the ability to communicate about your medical condition with your doctors (this requires a HIPAA form) or being unable to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so (this requires a healthcare proxy).
You also want your loved ones to know what means you want used to keep you alive when you are at the end of your life (e.g. ventilator, feeding tube). Although living wills are not legally binding in Massachusetts, the doctors will certainly take your preference under consideration.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Today — Relax Tomorrow
These uncertain times require determined action. Consult our highly skilled estate planning attorneys now to protect yourself and your family well before it is necessary. Having an empathic professional help you prepare for contingencies will give you the satisfaction of checking an essential matter off your to-do list and a welcome sense of control.