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Every person can benefit from creating an estate plan. Such a plan can help you decide what will happen to your estate when you die, as well as who will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are too ill to do so. 

Estate planning laws vary by state. Massachusetts for example has different laws when it comes to writing a will or choosing a healthcare proxy to some other states. To make sure that you’re getting the right legal advice, it’s worth only seeking out legal advice that is relevant to your state. The following guide outlines some of the basics when it comes to Massachusetts estate planning. 

Writing a will

An essential part of creating an estate plan is writing a will. If you die without a will in Massachusetts, ‘intestate’ laws will determine who inherits your property. A will allows you to decide exactly which relatives or friends will receive assets, as well as deciding exactly how much to give to each of them. This can ensure that your estate is divided according to your wishes.

In many cases, a will can speed up the probate process after you die. It may even significantly reduce the cost of probate. It is worth writing a will with the help of estate planning law professionals to ensure that your will is official according to Massachusetts law. You can write a will at any point and you can change it any time in the future if you wish.

For more information and resources, please visit Probate of Wills and Estates | Mass.gov for more insight on this topic.

Choosing a power of attorney

A power of attorney is someone who can make financial and business decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. While many of us hope that we will never be in a position where this is necessary, it is worth choosing a power of attorney just in case the worst happens.

Your power of attorney should be someone who you trust to take care of your finances or business. In many cases, it is a spouse, a child or another close relative. An official written legal document should be signed when designating a power of attorney – estate planning law professionals can help you to create this document.

These topics are never easy to deal with, and can even be confusing at times. Follow up in detail at Learn about the power of attorney | Mass.gov if this is a situation you find yourself dealing with. The more knowledge, the better.

Creating an advance directive

Advance directives or ‘Living wills’ are recognized by law in some states – these allow you to make advance decisions when it comes to your medical treatment if you are incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.

Massachusetts estate planning law does not recognize ‘living wills’. That said, you can still put in place your own advance directive as a guide to loved ones to help them with treatment decisions on your behalf. You can also choose a healthcare proxy, which is explained more below.

Choosing a healthcare proxy

A healthcare proxy is someone who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It is different to a power of attorney, who only makes financial or business decisions. That said, you can designate the role of healthcare proxy and power of attorney to the same person if you wish.

Unlike living wills, healthcare proxies are recognized under Massachusetts estate planning law. It is worth hiring the help of legal professionals to help you create an official document when designating someone as your healthcare proxy.

Dowley law has taken the initiative to plan ahead. You can find more information regarding the processes and procedures that need to be followed in order to obtain a healthcare proxy, read up for more information. Estate Planning and Asset Protection | Dowley Law, P.C.

Setting up living trusts

You can hand over assets to your loved ones while you are still alive by leaving them in a trust. The person who you leave them to (the trustee) then has legal possession over these assets.

The advantage of putting assets in a trust is that they do not have to go through the probate process, which can take months or even years in some cases. The trustee immediately has access to your assets when you die. It is up to you as to who you choose as a trustee. As with other estate planning measures listed above, it is worth hiring an attorney to help you create the necessary legal documents so that your trust is legally recognized.

Getting help with your estate plan

Massachusetts estate planning is something that should be carried out with the help of a qualified legal professional. While you can write your own will or designate your own power of attorney without the help of an attorney, there is no guarantee that it will be recognized under Massachusetts law.

To get the best legal service, you should hire an attorney that specializes in Massachusetts estate planning. They can then guide you through the whole process and help you create all the relevant documents. 

With just one click, you will be directed to where you can go more in depth with everything estate planning. Estate Planning and Asset Protection | Dowley Law, P.C.