First off, congratulations! Estate planning takes a lot of work and can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but you’ve made it. Your new estate plan should serve you and your family well, but you might be wondering if there are any next steps you might need to take. Let’s look at what you should do in the short and long term to make sure your legacy is secure and nothing falls through the cracks.
Your estate plan contains many important documents, so it is essential that you store your plan properly. Where to start:
Over the course of your life, your needs, goals, and fortunes will change, particularly if you have young children. Your estate plan is a snapshot of your life – your assets, beneficiaries, and priorities of the moment, so it makes sense to revisit it from time to time. We reach out to our clients about every three years to review the plan to ensure that changes are made in a timely manner. You should reach out to your estate planning attorney whenever some major change occurs in your life, too, such as changing assets (like a new home), beneficiaries (divorces or marriages in the family), or your family’s goals.
Many basic estate plans contain a Will, Health Care Proxy, and Durable Power of Attorney. It’s common for clients to think they have completed their estate plan with these three documents, but that is simply not the case! It’s critical to have a HIPAA Waiver and Living Will to accompany your incapacity documents to ensure that your Agents have access to your medical information and wishes.
Young families looking to preserve as many assets for their children as possible must implement Revocable Trusts to avoid the probate process and reduce Massachusetts estate tax liability. Robust guardianship planning, both long term and short term, is essential when there are young children. If your plan doesn’t contain all of these pieces, there is more that can and should be done to protect your family.
If you need assistance with your current estate plan, refreshing an old one, or just want a second pair of eyes focused on helping young families with estate planning in Massachusetts and dealing with the emotional parts of estate planning, we at Mulhall Withrow are here for you. Schedule a consultation today, and we’ll help answer any questions you might have.