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Other advisors will recommend an estate plan. Our office delivers an estate reality.” – Jamie Gorton, Managing Attorney

A thorough estate plan can help you prepare for the distribution of your possessions at the end of your life and ensure that your wishes are adhered to during the probate process. While your estate plan might not come into play until the end of your life, there are steps to take now, while you’re alive, that will make legal changes in your life as part of the creation process.

The estate planning process can take time, from organizing and reviewing your assets to carefully selecting your plan’s protections and beneficiaries. Working with an experienced attorney could streamline the Boston estate planning process and offer you peace of mind.

Getting Organized and Valuing Your Assets

Tip #1 – we want our clients to be as financially organized as they’ve ever been when they start to design their plan – not just how much someone has, but also how they hold it.

Before you can develop an estate plan, you must first understand the scope of your estate. This process starts with compiling a complete list of all of your assets and debts. Those assets include real property, bank accounts, investments, and personal property. You will also need to compile all the relevant account numbers, contact information, and login credentials needed to access these assets.

A complete list of these assets is necessary to develop a comprehensive estate plan. When an estate plan fails to include important assets, it can add significant roadblocks to the process in the future. A skilled Boston lawyer could help you to valuate your assets and determine the worth of your estate.

Identifying the Beneficiaries of Your Estate

Once you inventory their estate and determine its value, the next step is to consider your beneficiaries. The beneficiary is the individual set to inherit from the estate. While they are often spouses and children of the deceased, beneficiaries could be any person or entity designated in the estate documents. You will need to decide who those beneficiaries are and determine how to distribute your property between them.

Designating beneficiaries requires more than simply picking which assets will go to which loved ones. There could be complex tax issues and other matters that arise, which is why it is best to consult with a seasoned attorney when choosing beneficiaries for your estate.

Tip #2 – There are many legal reasons or benefits for a married person to leave their estate to a spouse, but even a married couple needs to make alternative beneficiary designations “just in case.”

Designing Your Plan and Selecting Estate Planning Tools with a Lawyer in Boston

Developing the estate plan itself requires the use of one or more planning tools. These legal documents can vary in complexity, and they can come in many forms. Some of the most commonly chosen tools used in estate planning include:

Last Will and Testament

Much of your estate plan may be built around your last will and testament. While some estate plans consist of little more than these documents, a will could also be used to coordinate other options, such as trusts.

Trusts

Revocable and irrevocable living trusts are a viable option for many people considering an estate plan. Selecting these agreements is often worthwhile for anyone who hopes to avoid probate court.

“Who needs a will? Everyone. Who needs a trust? We believe that living trusts are indicated in a wide number of settings, including for married couples and homeowners.” – Jamie Gorton, Managing Attorney

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that empowers a third party to act on your behalf if you become unable to make important decisions on your own behalf. This power is broad, allowing the agent to make healthcare decisions and arrange for payments for treatment.

Healthcare Proxy

Similar to the durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy allows another person to make important healthcare decisions in the instance that you become incapacitated. While a healthcare proxy also makes important medical decisions, they do not have the same level of control as someone with power of attorney. For instance, they can decide on a course of treatment but do not have control over the funds to pay for it.

Estate planning documents can be complicated. A dedicated attorney could help you to better understand the purpose of these estate planning tools and help you draft the documents that will best serve you and your loved ones.

From Plan to Reality with TEAM Estate Planning

Some law offices will draft documents, help clients sign them, and deliver them to their clients. With TEAM Estate Planning, we offer assistance in making sure our clients receive more than an estate plan; they have confirmation that they have taken legal actions to make their plan effective.

Rely on an Experienced Boston Attorney During the Estate Planning Process

One step in the Boston estate planning process builds on the next, which is why it is crucial to avoid any potential mistakes or issues during the creation of your plan. Due to what is at stake, avoiding serious errors in your estate plan should be your top priority, and you may need the assistance of qualified legal counsel to complete your plan effectively. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and start planning for your future.