Too many families in Massachusetts and across the country do not have wills. A recent study says nearly half of those surveyed are without any estate plan and women are more likely not to have a will in place. Many reasons are given, including a reluctance to think about death or they believe wills are only for the rich.
However, having a will in place is one of the most important and loving decisions you can make for your family. Having an estate plan is more than dividing up your assets when you die, it can also tell a court who you want to raise your kids as well as making sure your belongings go to the people or organizations of your choice.
Essential questions to ask yourself
When creating your will, there are three fundamental questions that you should answer:
- What happens to my estate? A will allows you to decide who gets your assets and when they can receive them. In some cases, it provides money for a guardian to help pay for the costs of raising your children. For larger estates, you can decide when and how your kids can access their inheritance.
- Who will be the executor? He or she could be the same person as your children’s guardian, and many are family members or close personal friends. The primary consideration is choosing someone trustworthy and organized with solid financial skills.
- Who will be the guardian of my children? As stated above, this person could also be the executor who will take custody of your children should both parents pass away. However, many people choose different people for these roles. Your guardian may be a beloved family member who you know will be the best option for your kids, but they have weak financial skills.
Estate planning is sound financial planning
Estate planning is more than planning for your death and helps avoid confusion and a potentially lengthy probate process if you die without drafting a will. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Massachusetts can help you find the right plan for your family’s future, while giving you peace of mind while you are still around to enjoy your loved ones as well as the wealth you’ve created.