Estate Planning for Your Golden Years
By Measured Wealth Private Client
When was the last time you updated or reviewed your estate plan? Perhaps more importantly—do you have an estate plan that consists of all necessary documents and do you fully understand the plan? If not, you’re not alone. In 2022, only 45% of Americans age 55 and older have a will, which is one of many key estate-planning documents.
The consequences of not having an estate plan can be severe for your surviving loved ones. In this article, we discuss the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan as well as the most common types of documents your estate plan might include.
Who Needs an Estate Plan?
Estate planning is important for anyone who will leave behind money or other assets, such as real estate, when they pass away. A good estate plan ensures your wealth is distributed to the people or charities you want to receive it. In addition, a proper estate plan makes it easier for your executor to manage the affairs of your estate and follow your wishes.
If you are a Massachusetts resident and pass away without a will or estate plan, your county Surrogate Court will appoint a personal representative to handle the administration of your estate and divide up your assets according to state laws of intestacy. Most people don’t like to think about the state government handling their assets, but that’s exactly what could happen if you don’t make estate planning a critical part of your financial plan.
What Might an Estate Plan Include?
One critical document in an estate plan is the will. A will can be used to designate many aspects of your affairs, including but not limited to:
- Division of your assets
- Wishes for your personal items
- Guardianship for your minor children
- Instructions for how to pay your debts
When you create a will, you must name the person in the will you wish to be the executor, who will oversee the administration of your wishes that have been stated in the will. You can create a will on your own or in partnership with a trusted expert, such as an estate attorney.
If you have an especially large estate or family members who are prone to disputes, you may need to set up a trust in addition to a will. Certain types of trusts provide more support and protection for people with large estates that may be subject to taxes or predatory creditors. Trusts are more complex and costly to set up than wills, so you should expect to work with a professional when setting up trusts.
Your estate plan may also include an advanced directive, which specifies your wishes regarding end-of-life care. An advanced directive may also define your wishes in case of physical or mental incapacity. This document helps ensure your family members are making a decision you would support and removes the agonizing need for them to make important healthcare decisions without your input.
Lastly, another important document that may be part of your estate plan is powers of attorney. If you are not cognitively able to make decisions for yourself, especially with your finances, a power of attorney will allow you to select who you would want to make those decisions on your behalf.
How Can You Create an Estate Plan?
While you may be able to draft a will on your own using the internet, most people with a net worth of $100,000 or more may be in need of more robust estate planning. In addition to hiring an estate attorney, it’s wise to partner with a financial planner who can help make sure all aspects of your financial situation are covered by the estate plan. To make sure your estate plan aligns with your financial plan, you can call our office at 603-431-1444 or visit our Measured Wealth Private Client Group website to set up a complimentary consultation.
About Measured Wealth Private Client Group
Measured Wealth Private Client Group, LLC was founded on the core values of our country, hard work, integrity, and uncompromising quality. Independence is our backbone. We diligently work for each client, assisting them in reaching their financial goals.
For 20 years we have inspired our clients to make informed decisions through education, communication, and service which exceeds their expectations. We serve a select client base, and for the benefit of our existing clients, we have a mutual selection process of accepting new clients every year.
We invite you to explore Measured Wealth Private Client Group, LLC and “Experience the Difference.”