Many Massachusetts residents have different reasons for wanting to create their estate plans. You may want to protect assets or ensure that your minor children have the right guardian in the event of your passing. Whatever the reason, you certainly want to get your estate planning underway.
Though determining goals is an important part of the estate planning process, if you do not understand the various uses of an estate plan, you may miss out on considering some goals that may help your overall plan. As a result, getting reliable information before starting the planning process may prove useful to you.
Goals to consider
As mentioned, your goals may differ from other individuals. Still, it is important to review possible goals that may help you create a more comprehensive estate plan, including:
- Making funeral arrangements
- Naming power of attorney agents
- Creating a health care proxy
- Appointing an executor to your estate
- Setting up a trust to limit estate taxes
- Arranging for charitable giving after your passing
- Naming beneficiaries to payable-on-death accounts, including life insurance policies and retirement accounts
If you have these or other goals in mind, you may have a greater chance of finding the planning documents that best suit your particular circumstances.
Properly using your will
A will is an important part of any plan, but you may want to remember that it is not a catch-all document for your end-of-life wishes. For instance, if you want to preplan your funeral so that surviving loved ones do not have to handle that task after your passing, you do not want to put those arrangements in your will. The reading of the will typically does not occur until after the funeral, so by the time your family learned of your funeral plans, it would be too late.
Instead, you may want to create a separate document to disclose these wishes and leave it with a trusted party, like your appointed executor. You can put your will to other uses by naming a guardian for your children, officially appointing your executor, bequeathing assets and including other important details.
Getting a start
When you feel ready to get started on your estate plan, you may want to ensure that you properly utilize your planning tools. Fortunately, an experienced estate planning attorney could help you throughout your estate planning process to ensure the addressing of your goals and that your documents comply with state laws.