The old proverb, “Make hay while the sun shines,” is especially true when it comes to estate planning. Life can be fragile and unexpected. The last thing you want to do is subject your loved ones to the unexpected without any kind of plan in place.
Creating an estate plan will help you outline asset distributions to your loved ones, name the appropriate people to make decisions in the event of your disability and death, reduce taxes on the transfer of estate assets, and organize and document your assets. For obvious reasons, the best time to complete an estate plan is before you actually need one and a local estate planning attorney can help you do so.
What Does A Boston Estate Lawyer Do?
Estate planning attorneys are qualified legal professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping individuals plan for death or incapacity. A Boston estate planning attorney can create a number of legal documents to meet your present needs and future goals. The documents you need will depend on your life stage and what you’re hoping to achieve. There are several documents commonly included in estate plans.
Wills & Trusts
Wills and trusts are created to provide instructions for your loved ones after you die. A will is a written declaration of your intentions for the disposition of your property after death. A will can be used to:
- Name an executor
- Identify guardians for underage children
- Serve as a backup for your living trust
- Lay out how taxes and debts will be paid
- Provide for pets
A will only governs and distributes “probate property.” A trust is an agreement that creates a fiduciary relationship between a trustmaker/grantor and a trustee, who has the right to hold assets for the benefit of named beneficiaries. A trust survives the trustmaker/grantor and can direct property that isn’t typically considered “probate property,” including life insurance.
Powers of Attorney
By creating a power of attorney, you can ensure that you have appointed the right person to protect you against exploitation as you age. A power of attorney allows you to name an individual who can make financial and legal decisions in the event you should become incapacitated.
Health Care Proxy and Living Will
A health care proxy is a legal document designed to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapable of making and executing decisions. With the health care proxy created, you will continue to make healthcare decisions until you are no longer legally competent enough to make them.
In the same vein, a living will is a document used to explain whether or not you want to be kept on life support under certain circumstances (usually involving terminal illness, injury, or permanent unconsciousness). A living will also addresses your preferences for artificial hydration, tube feeding, and pain medication. Together, these documents ensure you receive the healthcare you desire in the event of incapacity.
A thorough estate plan should include a power of attorney along with a health care proxy and a will and trust. Again, estate plans will vary based on an individual’s needs and the types of assets in their estate.
Is Hiring An Attorney Better Than Using Online Estate Planning Software?
As you’re probably aware, it is possible to create your own will online. However, attempting to create a will yourself opens the door for mistakes to be made. In certain cases, it is possible the court may reject your online will for many different reasons. If any of the details in the will are incorrect or not precise, or the will is not signed property, it can easily be contested in court. Your loved ones can then end up spending tens of thousands of dollars to contest your will.
It’s always advised that you work with an estate planning attorney for the creation of your estate plan. Even if you create a will online, you should still have it reviewed by a local Boston attorney.
Why Work With Eckert Byrne LLC?
Eckert Byrne LLC is a distinguished Cambridge estate planning law firm servicing the Boston area. Our firm takes a unique and comprehensive approach to estate planning. There is no one size fits all approach to estate planning, which is why our firm has created multiple estate plan options to help you properly protect your loved ones and your legacy.
- The Sapling Plan: The Sapling Plan is perfect for young adults who are heading off to school, going to study abroad, or are just starting their professional careers. The plan provides peace of mind regarding medical treatment, protection of online accounts, and more.
- The Oak Plan: The Oak Plan is for individuals or families in need of simple trust provisions. The plan can lay out who inherits property, provide for minor children, and more.
- The Spruce Plan: The Spruce Plan is designed for individuals or families concerned about tax planning. The plan can reduce state estate taxes, eliminate the role of probate court, and more.
- The Willow Plan: The Willow Plan is designed for individuals or families concerned about tax planning and who have concerns and issues relating to large life insurance and/or retirement accounts.
- The Sequoia Plan: The Sequoia Plan is meant for individuals or families with complex estate planning needs. The plan can reduce federal and state taxes, provide asset protection, and more.
Our attorneys will work side by side with you to outline your goals and chart the best course of action to build a comprehensive estate plan. In addition to estate planning services, Eckert Byrne LLC also provides:
- Trustee services
- Estate administration and probate services
- Trust funding assistance
- Standalone planning services