Estate planning in Salem, 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.
Most vitally, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can truly take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Salem, Massachusetts?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some typical considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
For example, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan probably does not need to be on your priorities, unless you are very ill, or independently wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Salem, Massachusetts is absolutely necessary: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take various steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Salem, Massachusetts estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is crucial and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Salem, Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Salem, Massachusetts is not always confusing, 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.