Boston Estate Planning Information Center
Looking for a qualified Estate Planning Attorney in Massachusetts?
Estate planning generally refers to the process of planning to pass assets to family or loved ones upon death, but it also encompasses planning for events such as incapacity or disability that may arise during life. An attorney can help plan for a smooth transition during aging and can help you avoid unwanted complications involving your personal care and property. An attorney can also help you navigate a complicated situation that was not properly planned for, such as an illness, incapacity (when a person is no longer physically or mentally able to take care of themselves and/or their finances), or an untimely death in the family.
What documents might be important for me to have during my lifetime?
- A Durable Power of Attorney, which names a person of your choice to handle financial matters for you in case you are unable to do so.
- A Health Care Proxy, which names a person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
- A living will, which states your wishes if there is no reasonable hope of meaningful recovery. Although a living will is not legally binding in Massachusetts, it is useful as an expression of wishes to guide the person you appoint to make decisions on your behalf.
- A HIPAA (Health Information Portability Authorization Act) Authorization form, which enables the named persons to have access to your medical records. It can be useful in times of a health crisis to give more than one person access to your medical records and the ability to communicate with your health care providers.
- A revocable trust, which holds your assets during your lifetime. This tool can be helpful in times of crisis because a chosen co-trustee (someone you have appointed to have power over the assets in the trust) will be able to access your assets in the event that you are unable to do so. Your co-trustee can use your assets to support you while you are alive. After your death, they will distribute your trust assets according to your wishes. This tool can sometimes be used to successfully avoid probate. However, avoiding probate is not necessary for everyone. It is important to speak with an attorney to determine whether this planning tool would be appropriate for your individual situation.