“An estate plan ensures that your financial affairs are in order. Health Care Planning addresses the legal issues that arise when you become ill and cannot act on your own behalf, assuring your health care issues are honored.”
Estate planning allows you an opportunity to consider how best to provide for your loved ones upon your death; and assists your Personal Representative in handling the legal matters that arise when you die, giving him or her clear direction on your wishes concerning your real estate, personal property and other assets, funeral arrangements and disposition of your body.
Your estate includes all of the property you own at the time of your death – real estate, personal property (examples are furniture, coin collections, jewelry, paintings, pets, and automobiles), bank accounts, retirement accounts and the like, life insurance, stocks, bonds and other securities, and cash.
If you are single or married, with children or with no children, an elder with grown children or with no children, no matter your current circumstances, it is important to examine your choices for asset protection, plan for your elder years, consider a possibility of disability and the need for caretakers and other providers. By careful estate planning, you minimize the amount of estate taxes that will be paid so that your property passes to those that you wish.
HEALTH CARE DECISIONS
It is important to advise your health care professionals now, while you are healthy and physically and mentally capable, who is to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to act on your own behalf. This must be done in writing, to avoid delays in decision making in the event you become unable to make your own health care decisions.
The Health Care Proxy
You may have heard of a “living will”. Many states use that term. However, in Massachusetts, the document is known as a “Health Care Proxy”. This document tells your doctors and other health care professionals who is to be your health care agent – the person who will make medical decisions on your behalf. It also directs your health care agent on what steps to take or not take, depending on a variety of medical circumstances.
The Health Care Agent
It is important to choose health care agents who will appreciate that they are acting for you and standing in your shoes, not acting for themselves.
Kate will advise and counsel you in making these important decisions and then draft appropriate documents such as a health care proxy, a durable power of attorney, a Last Will and Testament and an intervivos trust whether revocable or irrevocable.
Kate will also settle a decedent’s affairs and advise and counsel the personal representative, trustees, and heirs at law through the process of probating the estate.