So have you ever stopped to think about what will happen if you die? Now I'm talking about the philosophical argument about heaven/hell. I'm talking about what will happen to the people and things you leave behind? Being proactive and planning for your family’s future is a necessity in today’s world. If you do not take the time to plan, the state will step in and dictate what happens to your minor children and your worldly possessions. Wouldn't you rather be in control of what happens?
In general, most estate plans will include at a minimum a combination of the following legal documents:
A will can fulfill several purposes. It nominates fiduciaries, provides the fiduciary with the authority they need to act and it disposes of probate assets. The will nominates a Personal Representative who will guide the estate through the probate process.
Durable Power of Attorney:
A durable power of attorney is a document whereby one person, the principal, appoints another person, the agent or attorney-in-fact, to act as his or her attorney-in-fact. The person serving need not be an attorney so, to some extent, the term “attorney” is a misnomer. The attorney-in-fact, in effect, stands in the shoes of the principal and acts for him or her on financial, business, or other matters.
Health Care Proxy:
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that allows you to name someone you know and trust to make health care decisions for you if, and only if, you are unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself.
A living will sets forth the specific written instructions of the principal regarding his or her treatment preferences in various hypothetical situations. Living wills tend to focus on end-of-life situations and decisions about pursuing or terminating treatment, including life-sustaining measures.
Declaration of Homestead:
The Homestead Act allows Massachusetts homeowners to protect their home from future creditors. The Act was updated and effective as of March 16, 2011. The updated Act allows homeowners to choose between an Automatic Homestead, which is effective without a written declaration and a written Declaration of Homestead. The amount of the Automatic Homestead protection is $125,000. When a written Declaration of Homestead is filed the exemption increases to $500,000. Both the homeowner and his/her spouse must sign the declaration form.
Contact Attorney Curran to discuss your estate planning options: