Cambridge Estate Planning Lawyer
You may wonder why it is necessary to plan what will happen to your estate after you die. After all, doesn’t everything automatically go to your spouse and/or children? Not necessarily. And, if the estate planner is not careful, you may end up shelling out more tax money than is necessary.
A Last Will & Testament allows you to identify exactly how you want the property of your estate to be distributed during the probate process. The probate court “probates” the Will, in effect deciphering the language and/or directives of the Will and distributing your assets accordingly. Probating can take several months and the costs can add up quickly but in the end your beneficiaries own the property bequested to them, as you wanted it. A well-drafted Will should be “airtight,” leaving no room multiple interpretations of your intent. It does not just identify the beneficiaries, it particularizes the conditions under which they may be allowed to recover, and prioritizes the bequests, as well as any residuary. And, importantly, it can be drafted to categorically exclude certain individuals from recovering under your Will.
An estate is administered by the Executor, chosen by you, the Testator. We can assist you in identifying the person in your life most able to responsibly administer your estate, such as repaying your debts, collecting money owed to you, seizing control of, safeguarding and maximizing fiduciary asset values, paying all taxes, maintaining accurate accounts and records, and distributing the estate in accordance with your wishes, as expressed in your Will. Should you die intestate (i.e., without a valid Will), the Probate Court appoints an Executor to administer your estate and distribute your assets according to the law.
If you have already named beneficiaries in a document such as you life insurance policy, keep in mind those named as beneficiaries of the policy will collect under that policy, even if your Will indicates differently.
Although “do-it-yourself” Will kits are available for purchase online, the Massachusetts Bar Association recommends hiring a professional to help you plan your estate. With something so valued as your life assets, entrusting a knowledgeable attorney to assist you is a much safer route than relying on an automated program. With the ever-changing laws of Massachusetts, drafting your own Will may have disastrous effects when the probate process begins.
When it comes to estate planning, there are many different paths to take. At MCDG, you will get the individualized attention your situation deserves.