Estate planning in Northampton, Massachusetts is simply the act of deciding what you want to happen to your assets after your death. It typically entails making plans about funeral arrangements, as well as plans for end of life care.
Usually, the first thing a person thinks about when they think about estate planning is a will. A will dictates what happens to a person's property after they die. In general, you can leave your property to whomever you want, and attach almost any condition to such gifts. In the vast majority of estate plans, a will is the central component. It is rarely the only one, however.
In addition to a well-drafted will, a comprehensive estate plan should include things like a living will (healthcare directives made in advance, in case you become incapacitated and unable to make or express such decisions), funeral instructions, and instructions relating to organ donations.
Crucially, your plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your children, if they are minors. However you should first discuss this matter with the person who you intend to take custody of your children in case something happens to you, to make sure they are willing and able to do so.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Northampton, Massachusetts?
The answer to this question depends on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is probably not a high priority. And at this point in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very dangerous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
If you are unmarried, but have a life partner in Northampton, Massachusetts, estate planning is crucial, if you wish for your life partner to be treated as if he or she were your spouse (to the extent possible). In such a situation, the estate plan should make arrangements to give your life partner power of attorney in case you become incapacitated. Your will should also clearly include your partner (if you wish for them to inherit any of your assets).
Individuals who are elderly and/or have a considerable amount of money in Northampton, Massachusetts are probably more in need of an estate plan than almost anyone else. Most people place a lot of value in the peace of mind that comes when they know that the people they love, or the causes they care about, will be taken care of after their death. Of course, nobody likes to confront the facts that this process always includes, but it's necessary.
Do I Need a Northampton, Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Northampton, Massachusetts is not always perplexing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a substantial number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.