No one likes to think about death. The thought of being incapacitated is nearly as frightening. For most people, the idea of their own mortality or possible dependence on others is terrifying, even morose. The prospect of drawing up a will, naming powers of attorney, and making other final decisions is so distasteful that many people simply put off estate planning altogether.
To Worcester Elder Law attorney Paula Smith, estate planning isn’t really about thinking about death, but it’s the process of thinking about life. Instead of focusing on what will happen when you die or if you can no longer make decisions about your medical care or finances, Paula Smith proposes this provocative question to her elderly clients:
- How do you want the lives of those you love affected when you are gone?
How you answer that question is what goes into the making of your estate plan.
Proper Tools of Estate Planning
Think of your estate plan like a toolbox for your loved ones. Inside that toolbox will be the instructions and instruments your family will need to make decisions on your behalf, possibly before and most certainly after you are gone.
First, your lifetime plan includes instructions on powers of attorney, health care proxies and trust administration, if it becomes necessary. If you become incapacitated and can no longer take care of your own affairs, your family will rely on these tools. Today, people live longer than ever before and seniors may need expensive, long-term care. How will your assets be protected if you are living in a nursing home? How does Medicaid planning work? Your toolbox will contain the answers.
Your Lifetime Plan Includes:
- Power of Attorney
- Medicaid (MassHealth) Planning
- Health Care Proxy
- Long-term Care Options
Next, your death time plan addresses all matters that arise after you die. It will include your will, the distribution of your property and any personal decisions you would like settled in your absence. It might also include your decisions regarding trusts. Just like every family, every will is unique. Paula Smith will help you design your death time plan to reflect your personal circumstances. Regardless of what it contains, your family will definitely rely on the tools you carefully provided for them when you were able to do so.
Your Death Plan Includes:
No matter what the size of your estate, no matter how complex your individual circumstances, Paula Smith will work diligently to make sure your assets are protected. You can feel secure in the knowledge that every element of your estate plan, including the distribution of your property, will be handled smoothly and efficiently, without extra taxes, court costs or attorneys’ fees.
Your Estate Plan Ensures:
- That there will be a named and trusted power of attorney and health care proxy who will step in and make critical decisions for you if you are ever unable to do so
- That the family you have nurtured and cared for while you are alive still feels your commitment to them when you are gone
- That everyone you love receives exactly what you intended them to receive, without confusion or questions
- That all financial matters are dealt with so that your beneficiaries take this time to grieve, not worry
- That the disbursement of your assets is handled precisely the way you want it to be handled
Your Estate Plan Prevents:
- Your beneficiaries from not receiving property that you planned them to receive
- Squabbling among heirs and administration costs that reflect the discord
- Unnecessary taxes from being levied against the estate
- Wasted time and unnecessary costs as heirs try to unravel or simply understand your intent
- The need to go to court
The most important advantage of estate planning is the peace of mind that goes along with having your affairs in order. Worcester Elder Law Attorney Paula Smith, in addition to being highly skilled and knowledgeable on all estate planning legal matters, is caring, respectful, and in-tune to elderly clients’ individual emotional needs. Most seniors find that discovering an attorney with the combination of expertise and empathy for the important business of estate planning is not only preferred at this stage in their lives, it’s essential.