Every family is different, so everyone’s estate planning needs will be different. However, whether you live in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or anywhere else in the country, there are some commonalities regardless of estate size or location. Understanding these basics may make talking about your estate and planning how your assets will be allocated somewhat less scary.
If you die without a will, the court will decides who gets your assets. This process is called Probate, and without a proper will it can take months, or even years to be resolved. The fees are different, but probate costs are usually around 10% of the estate – and that is before any other legal fees.
Writing a will doesn’t eliminate the probate process entirely, but it does significantly speed things up. Your will provides the court a guide to your wishes, while your executor – the person you’ve chosen to act on your behalf – helps ensure your wishes are realized. By speeding up the process, leaving a will help to reduce fees and prevent family fights.
Accounts, like your retirement plans and life insurance policies, usually require you to name a beneficiary when you set them up. Many checking, savings, and brokerage accounts also allow you to name a beneficiary for the account. If you want to leave the balance of those accounts to an institution rather than a specific person. you will need to do so in your will.
Power of Attorney
There are two types of Powers of Attorney to consider. The first is a financial Power of Attorney which enables someone to make monetary decisions on your behalf if you become physically or mentally unable to do so. The second is a medical Power of Attorney which allows you to lay out your desires so they can be factored into any decisions made by doctors. It also allows you to name a person with the final decision-making ability should you be unable to do so.
No one likes talking about death. It’s a tough topic that brings up a lot of emotions. However, proper planning now ensures your wishes are honored, and saves your loved ones time, money and possible fights.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Carolina K. Tumminelli PLLC can assist you with your estate planning needs. Contact us at 978-256-9655 or 603-881-5300.