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Estate Planning in Massachusetts: Important Tips for Singles

Single individuals in Massachusetts are wise to have a comprehensive estate plan. These documents can help better ensure financial security and reduce future tax obligations.

Single individuals in Massachusetts are wise to have a comprehensive estate plan for a number of reasons. Some of the top rationales for putting together an estate plan include:

  • Control. Without an estate plan you will lose control of what happens to your estate. You will also likely lose the ability to control your medical care and finances in the event of incapacitation.
  • Taxes. A comprehensive estate plan can help reduce tax obligations and better ensure that your estate takes advantage of tax breaks.
  • Financial security. Establishing an estate plan can help ensure financial security. This plan could include the use of trusts that can take additional advantage of tax benefits and shield assets from creditors.

Moving forward with an estate plan can be an arduous process. Various documents may be used and can include a will, trusts, health care proxy and power of attorney. In order to ensure that an estate plan is right for your situation, it is wise to have a basic understanding of governing law.


Massachusetts law

According to Massachusetts law, in the absence of a will the estate is passed on to family members. In the absence of a spouse, the estate would pass first to any children that may be present. If there are no children the estate would be split and passed to each surviving parent. In the absence of a surviving parent, the estate passes to siblings. If there are no siblings, than the estate passes to the next closest living relative. If a relative is not located, the estate passes to the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It is also important to note that the passing of the estate is only one area a balanced estate plan provides for. In addition to a will or trusts, estate plans can also contain health care proxies and power of attorney documents. A health care proxy allows a competent adult to appoint a health care agent. This agent is able to make decisions regarding any and all health care decisions including life-sustaining treatment measures. The agent is to make these decisions with the principal’s wishes in mind, including considerations about religious and moral beliefs as well as the principal’s best interest.

In addition to a health care proxy, it is also wise to have a comprehensive power of attorney document. This will establish who is able to manage finances in the event of incapacity. This allows another to handle bills and other financial obligations that can arise.


Importance of legal counsel

These are just a few of the issues that an estate plan can address for single individuals. As a result, those within this group are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer. This legal professional can discuss your options and help to better ensure an estate plan is tailor made to fit your needs.

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