1. An Estate Plan Protects
Your Beneficiaries

Creating a comprehensive estate plan to distribute your assets and provide for your loved ones after you pass away can be one of the most rewarding tasks you undertake. If you do not create an estate plan, the state of Massachusetts will decide who receives your property after you pass away. The heir or heirs who inherit your property under Massachusetts intestacy laws may not be the same person or people you would have chosen. The probate court process can take years, rack up significant costs and fees, and could potentially become litigious. Additionally, the probate court won’t automatically rule that your surviving spouse should get everything. Using a will-based or trust-based estate plan can help you ensure that the beneficiaries you want to receive your assets are protected.

2. An Estate Plan Protects
Young Children

Every parent with a child or children under the age of 18 should have an estate plan in place. You will be able to name a guardian or conservator of your children as part of your estate plan. In fact, the only way to indicate which person or people you would like to appoint as the guardian of your minor children is through a provision in your will. If you pass away without a surviving spouse, the probate court will appoint someone to act as your child’s guardian.

The person the probate court appoints may not be the person you would have selected. Creating an estate plan ensures that you appoint a guardian you trust for your children. It will also allow you to protect your assets for the benefit of your children after you are gone. By creating a trust, you can appoint a trustee to manage the assets for the benefit of your minor children, assuring that they have their financial needs met.

3. An Estate Plan Limits Tax Liability

Limiting tax liability is an important benefit of creating an estate plan. Part of protecting your assets for your loved ones involves protecting them from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Estate planning can enable Massachusetts couples to reduce a significant portion or even all of their federal estate taxes. In addition to the federal estate tax, Massachusetts levies an estate tax.

If your estate is worth over $1 million when you pass away, the state of Massachusetts will take out your estate taxes before your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. The Massachusetts estate tax applies to your entire estate, not just the amount above the exemption limit. If your estate is worth $2 million, the estate tax will apply to all 2 million dollars, not just the $1 million above the exemption. An estate planning attorney can help you create a strategy to transfer assets to your heirs while creating the smallest possible tax burden for them.

4. An Estate Plan Protects You Upon Incapacity

Thinking about incapacity can be difficult. None of us wants to lose our independence. However, most of us will end up spending time in a long-term care facility. A comprehensive estate plan should include advance care planning. Most private insurance companies will not cover long-term stays in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. Many Massachusetts residents cannot afford a long-term stay in a nursing home and doing so can drain their hard-earned estate. A comprehensive estate plan can help you create a trust that will allow you to become eligible for MassHealth insurance benefits that cover long-term care in a nursing home.

Create an Advance
Health Directive

As part of your estate plan, you can also create an advance health directive. An advance healthcare directive is designed to provide instructions regarding your medical care when you are unable to convey those directions yourself due to a medical emergency. You can appoint a healthcare proxy, or agent, who will make healthcare decisions and your preferences for your funeral. You can also inform your proxy about your wishes regarding resuscitation, breathing machines, tube feeding, and anything regarding the treatment you may receive. Your advance healthcare directive can also include instructions for the disposal of your body.

Learn More About Advanced Health Directives

5. An Estate Plan Can Make The Grieving Process
Easier For Your Family

Thinking about incapacity can be difficult. None of us wants to lose our independence. However, most of us will end up spending time in a long-term care facility. A comprehensive estate plan should include advance care planning. Most private insurance companies will not cover long-term stays in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. Many Massachusetts residents cannot afford a long-term stay in a nursing home and doing so can drain their hard-earned estate. A comprehensive estate plan can help you create a trust that will allow you to become eligible for MassHealth insurance benefits that cover long-term care in a nursing home.

As part of your estate plan, you can also create an advance health directive. An advance healthcare directive is designed to provide instructions regarding your medical care when you are unable to convey those directions yourself due to a medical emergency. You can appoint a healthcare proxy, or agent, who will make healthcare decisions and your preferences for your funeral. You can also inform your proxy about your wishes regarding resuscitation, breathing machines, tube feeding, and anything regarding the treatment you may receive. Your advance healthcare directive can also include instructions for the disposal of your body.

Reach Out to an Estate
Planning Attorney Today

The benefits of creating an estate plan go beyond distributing your assets. Once your estate plan has been prepared, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. If you are ready to begin the estate planning process, or you need to update your estate plan after major life changes, the attorneys at Surprenant & Beneski, PC, are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your estate planning goals.

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45 Bristol Drive, Easton, MA 02375

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Phone
Call our office 508.994.5200