“Estate Plan” sounds like something only rich people need. But when folks want a Will, that’s one of the essential elements of an estate plan, and something just about every adult — rich or poor — should have.
When getting started, we often hear clients say they want a “simple will” or a “basic estate plan,” and “nothing too fancy. Although everybody’s needs are different, it’s understandable to want a process that can seem overly complicated and pedantic simplified and streamlined. Let’s do just that by introducing you to what’s considered a “basic estate plan”.
They say good things come in threes.
They were thinking about estate planning when they said it. A basic estate plan consists of three documents: a will, a healthcare proxy, and a power of attorney. These documents come together to make long and difficult processes regarding you, your finances, and your assets easier by solidifying your wishes when you can’t do so yourself.
Let’s meet the documents:
A Will dictates the distribution of your probate estate at the time of your death. Your probate estate consists of everything you have sole ownership of, from a car to the miscellaneous socks that fell behind your dryer. You decide what’s important and where you want it to go when you pass, even if they are dusty socks. With all your prized possessions in mind, wills aren’t just about property. If you’re a parent of minors its important to designate a guardian to look after your children in your will as well. Without a will a relative is left with the stress of these choices and the process is significantly harder on them.
A healthcare proxy is a document that names someone to make medical decisions for you in the case that you cannot do so yourself. The chosen proxy should be someone you trust who can honor your beliefs and medical attitude. Some people choose to document their medical beliefs in certain situations in living wills. Although the Massachusetts state law doesn’t recognize living wills, there are other steps you can take to specifically lay out what you would like to be done under certain circumstances, including simply sharing your wishes with your chosen proxy.
Power of Attorney
A power of Attorney is a document that designates a trusted agent to make decisions on your finances. This doesn’t take away your ability to make decisions on your finances; it allows another agent to act as if they were you. It can be used to make buying and selling assets more convenient or in some cases — if, say, you’re in a coma — the only way to make necessary financial transactions. Although the idea of a someone else with authority over your finances can be daunting, you can limit what your agent can do in your power of attorney and you can revoke it at any time.
The healthcare proxy and power of attorney forms are useful to those as young as 18, especially as they move out of their parents’ home. As we move through the seasons of our lives, estate plans can get more complex, particularly for Massachusetts residents who own a home or have other significant assets.
Estate planning can seem intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. We have streamlined the process into 4 steps that are simple and tailored to you. If you are interested in diving in for a consultation you can click the button below and see if our basic plan is right for you.
Get started on your Estate Plan
Set up a consultation