As you get older one of the most important tasks on your to-do list is to create and manage your estate plan. By establishing an estate plan, you are ensuring that you have power over your estate and the distribution of your assets instead of a court appointed by the state.
Planning for the future will help your relatives have a concise, clear-cut plan of what to do to honor your wishes, and can be helpful in making sure all of your assets are in one place.
Here are some helpful tips for managing your estate plan:
Create An Inventory of Assets: Start by making a list of everything that physically belongs to you, such as your car, house, etc. You should also include your bank statements, account information, mortgage/loans, and any other financial assets.
It’s important to remember to include your digital assets as well when making your inventory. Digital assets may include photos, videos, as well as login information to your email, social media accounts, and financial institution passwords.
All of these assets will be shared with your attorney and passed on to your beneficiaries upon the execution of the estate plan.
Draft Up a Will: A will puts into words who you want your physical assets, such as property, distributed to. A will is important because it decides who gets control of your assets after you have passed, instead of the state government taking them over.
It is important when drafting up a will that you make your wants clear and concise so that there is no confusion when it’s read and enacted. Wills typically name family members as the beneficiaries of the estate, however, you may choose whoever you see fit. Your attorney will read the will to your beneficiaries when the time comes.
Choose Beneficiaries: One of the most important aspects of managing an estate plan is to choose and notify your beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are those who will inherit your estate, and benefit from it. You may choose multiple beneficiaries, including a primary one and a secondary one, as well as a trusted adult if your beneficiary is a minor.
There are no rules for choosing your beneficiaries. You may choose a spouse or children if you have them, but you do not have to. It is ultimately your decision as to who inherits your estate.
Communicate Your Plan: Tell your beneficiaries ahead of time that you have chosen them, so they know what to expect when they receive a call from your attorney to go over the will. This will also give them time to plan for their own futures and honor any wishes you had for them.
Keep Your Plan Up To Date: Things change, and your estate plan may as well. To keep your plan up to date, meet regularly (every three to five years) with your attorney to go over your trust, and make any changes that you find necessary. If a beneficiary changes, make sure to address that, as well as if you have any additional assets to report.
At Southgate at Shrewsbury, we want all of our residents to feel safe and protected when it comes to their will and physical and personal assets.
Check out these additional resources on estate planning in Massachusetts:
● Trust & Will Massachusetts
● Free MA Estate Planning Checklist
● MA Laws About Trusts & Estates