Need Help Setting Up a Will or Trust, or Navigating Probate?
Having an estate plan is the only way you can control who receives your property after you pass away. Your plan should also determine how your estate will be handled should you become incapacitated.
The estate-planning attorneys at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., have experience helping fellow Bostonians plan for the future. Call us today at (617) 870-0907 to set up a free consultation. We can go over the documents that you need to ensure your own care and the distribution of your personal belongings after you pass.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a group of documents that will be used during the distribution of your estate, or to dictate the care that you receive in the event that you become incapacitated. Making an estate plan allows you to consider the care that you desire near the end of your life, who you would like to oversee your care, and the distribution of your property after you pass.
Your “estate” is comprised of real estate, bank accounts, stocks, securities and other investments, life insurance policies, and personal property such as vehicles, jewelry, artwork, or other collectibles. There are several documents that we can assist you with to be certain that your plan provides as much information and clarity as possible for your loved ones:
- Wills. A will is a legally binding document that describes how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. These assets must be owned only by you and not be included in a trust, as the trust has its own distribution instructions.
- Trusts. Trusts are separate from a will but are often used in addition to a will. You can create a trust and include other members who will assume ownership of the property in the trust upon your death. The greatest benefit of trusts is they greatly reduce the tax burden on those who receive your property. The federal government exempts your beneficiary from filing an estate tax return if the value of your property is less than $11 million in 2019, but the Massachusetts estate tax exemption is much lower. For this reason, trusts are beneficial and common in Boston estate plans.
- Living Wills. A living will is not related to your property. This document allows you to express your wishes for end-of-life care. This directive is used when you are determined to be mentally unfit to make your own decisions, or in the event that you are incapacitated, such as by being in a coma. Not only does a living will provide you peace of mind, but it also eliminates the burden that can be placed on your loved ones during this stressful time. Often times, family members are not able to agree on certain situations, such as removal from life support, and this document will eliminate that issue for your loved ones.
- Power of Attorney. A power of attorney authorizes a single person to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The power of attorney allows the person to make decisions for you that are not outlined in your living will. In addition, the designated person has the ability to make decisions that are non-healthcare related, such as the sale of property or other assets to pay medical bills. A second power of attorney can be named to make decisions if the primary power of attorney is unavailable or unable to fulfill his or her duties.
- Healthcare Proxy. A healthcare proxy is authorized to make healthcare-related decisions for you if you are incapacitated. But unlike power of attorney, the healthcare proxy can only make decisions regarding your healthcare.
Thinking about the end of your life can be stressful, but it is important to clearly record your desires, both for your benefit and for your loved ones. The Boston estate-planning lawyers at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., will guide you through this delicate process, and ensure that all of your documentation is correct and legally binding. Not only will we assist you with the difficult decisions, but we will be here to assist your heirs when the time comes. Call today at (617) 870-0907 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your estate plan.