Most of us spend a significant amount of time planning for the future. We think, strategize and execute life decisions about our career, marital status, property ownership and whether to become a parent. Unfortunately, we do not spend the same energy planning what we want to happen to our children, our property, and our finances when we pass away. By not planning for our death, we are undermining all those carefully chosen decisions about how we live.
It is a fallacy that professional retirement and estate planning is expensive. Having an estate attorney draft and prepare a Will can be extremely cost effective. The fear of the cost should not stop you from speaking to a lawyer. Wills are often priced on a scale depending on what you have to leave and the complexity of how, and to whom, you want to leave your property.
Everyone should choose to execute a Last Will and Testament. A properly drafted Will is the cornerstone for an estate plan. A Will is a set of instructions explaining how you wish your assets, both liquid and real, to be distributed amongst family, friends, charities and other organizations. Writing a Will helps to ensure that it is you who decides what happens to your estate and not the probate court. This is also the place where you establish who you wish to take care of your children if you pass away when they are still under age. Without this guardian clause in a Will, your children may be raised by someone not of your choosing. You can also designate who you wish to be the personal representative of your estate. A personal representative is responsible for marshalling your assets, paying just debts, filing appropriate legal paperwork and eventually disbursing your assets to the people you have chosen in your Will.
Do not forget that you can, and sometimes should, amend your Will. It should be reviewed during any change in life status such as marriage, divorce, children, and when there is an increase/decrease in your income. Even if your life status has not changed, it is still good practice to review your Will every few years to ensure it complies with current Massachusetts and Federal rules so that it takes advantage of the most recent tax saving strategies.
Don’t delay making contact with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss drafting your Will. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste or let your wishes be ignored just because you did not have a proper, up- to-date Will at the time of your death. And remember, hiring an estate planning lawyer to draft your Will is more reasonably priced than you think.
The Law Office of Frank V. Grimaldi, P.C. is a Cambridge, MA Family Law & Estate Planning Law Practice. We help you care for your family: Guardianships, Trusts, Wills, Probate, Disabilities Planning, & more.