Education Series

Part 2: When Do You Begin Thinking About an Estate Plan?

by Jack Morrison on August 18, 2011

Welcome to the second article in our 2-part series, “When Do You Begin Thinking About an Estate Plan?” (Did you catch the first article?) Although the answer is simple—when something significant changes in your life—making that first step isn’t always so easy.

Have you experienced a significant event recently? This includes: 

  • Buying a house
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Getting divorced
  • Remarrying
  • Getting ill
  • Acquiring an asset 

Last week we discussed buying a house and getting married. Now we’ll discuss two more scenarios: starting a family and getting divorced.

  • Starting a Family: Starting a family marks a turning point in your life: you have to think about other people besides just yourself. Until kids reach a certain age, they are totally dependent on their parents’ ability to provide for them. If something should happen, your kids will go into the care of the guardian you designate for them. But what if you pass away without creating a will or designate a guardian? This is a nightmare for families to resolve. Not to mention a nightmare for the kids in the interim.
  • Getting Divorced: Divorce signifies a physical and emotional break-up. The divorce itself legally separates the assets of both parties. But it’s important to make sure that everything else is done correctly…that the life insurance policy is changed to reflect new beneficiaries…that IRAs name new beneficiaries. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are other things you need to do. Divorce, in general, voids any gift to the former spouse. But now you need to update and redo your will to accurately confirm your current wishes.

Are you ready to take the next step and make sure you’ve properly planned for you and your loved ones?

My name is Attorney Jack Morrison. As a Clinton and Worcester Estate Planning Lawyer, I assist clients every day with creating and updating their Massachusetts estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.

This is the 4th and final week in our monthly May series, “What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan?” Over the past few weeks, we’ve written about the basic components and documents of an estate plan, why it’s important to assess what stage in your life you’re at, what decisions need to be made, what happens during your first meeting with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney and what happens during a document execution meeting. Now, we’ll discuss what changes may need to be made (and why) to your estate plan in the future.                                                           

Week 4: What Future Changes Will You Need to Make to Your Estate Plan?
Throughout May, we’ve emphasized on this blog the fact that your estate plan will need to be created and customized to fit the situation and stage of your life you’re in now. The contents of your estate plan will depend upon your life status and if you’re married, divorced, single, have children, etc. 

As you’re aware, life changes rapidly. Even if you have created an estate plan in the past, you may need to update or modify it several times over the course of your life. If you have undergone a life-changing event, chances are you’ll need to update your estate plan. Life-changing events include: 

  • The birth of a child
  • A marriage or re-marriage
  • Divorce
  • A death in the family
  • Change in financial status
  •  Starting, buying or selling a business

 Some Massachusetts estate planning attorneys may offer special plans or incentives regarding updating your plan. For example, my office offers a unique complement for every client. If you purchase an estate plan package, you get a 3-year unlimited change bonus (changes that aren’t substantive, that is) to your estate plan. This helps give clients peace of mind about planning for their future and knowing that not all decisions must be set in stone. 

Read our previous blog posts on What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan Part 1, What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan Part 2 and What Happens at the Document Execution Meeting. 

Are you ready to create an estate plan?  If you have questions now that I can answer for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a Worcester, Mass Estate Planning Attorney, I assist clients every day with their estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.

This is the third week in our monthly May series, “What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan?” So far we’ve discussed the basic components and documents of an estate plan, why it’s important to assess what stage in your life you’re at, what decisions need to be made and what happens during your first meeting with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney. Now, we’ll discuss what goes into executing your estate plan.                                                        

Week 3: What Happens at the Document Execution Meeting?
When creating an estate plan, you’ll have two meetings with your estate planning attorney. The first meeting, as we previously discussed, is to talk with your attorney about your needs, requests, and ask any questions you may have. Based on your responses, the attorney will take some time and draft up the documents. Your attorney will then send them to you for your review. Then, you’ll come to the attorney’s office for a second, final meeting in what is often called the document execution meeting. 

At the document execution meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to review the final drafts of the documents. Hopefully you’ll have looked over the documents that were emailed to you and will agree with all the changes. The signing of the documents, or execution, will need to be witnessed. That includes your will, healthcare proxy, durable power of attorney, etc. The documents are executed, which means they’re completed. And then you can breathe a sigh of relief: your estate plan is completed and you and your family can rest easier knowing you’ve planned for their future. 

Next week, we’ll discuss the final part of what to expect when creating an estate plan: planning and anticipating future changes down the road. If you have questions now that I can answer for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a Worcester, Mass Estate Planning Attorney, I assist clients every day with their estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.

This week we continue the next part in our monthly May series, “What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan?” When we last left off, we talked about the essential components in an estate plan. Now, we’ll pick up talking about the second part of what to expect when you decide you need an estate plan.  

Part 2: What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan?
Typically, when you come to the conclusion that you need an estate plan, you set up a meeting. Your Worcester estate planning attorney will go through and ask what you’ve done so far. For example, do you have any of the aforementioned documents? If you do, what has changed since initial documents were created that now causes you to make changes? Then, a series of appropriate changes and decisions are made depending on your responses. 

Your attorney will sit down and go through your needs, explain all the documents, and depending on your comments, will obtain the necessary information to fill out the other forms. At the conclusion of the meeting, you’ll have an idea of what you need, what you need to go home and look for, and what documents are needed to accomplish the goals discussed in the meeting. 

Then, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled to complete and execute the documents. Before that meeting happens, your attorney’s office will send over the documents to review. You’ll want to make sure they honor the wishes you discussed during the initial meeting. 

Next week we’ll discuss: What Happens at the Execution Meeting. If you have questions now that I can answer for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a Worcester, Mass Estate Planning Attorney, I assist clients every day with their estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.

You’ve been toying with the idea of creating an estate plan—but you haven’t moved forward yet. What’s stopping you? Many times, it’s the fear of the unknown. You don’t know what the process will be like or what to expect. 

That’s why throughout the entire month of May, I’m dedicating each week to educating you about the process of what to expect in our Estate Planning Series, “What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan?” 

Here’s a taste of what you can expect over the next few weeks: 

Week 1: What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan? (Part 1)
Week 2: What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan? (Part 2)
Week 3: What Happens at the Execution Meeting?
Week 4: What Changes Will You Need to Make? 

If you have any questions at all over the next few weeks, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at The Law Office of Jack Morrison at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form. 

Week 1: What Happens When You Decide You Need an Estate Plan? (Part 1)
An estate plan is one of the most important things you will ever do to plan for your future. Basically, estate planning is a method to determine how you intend to use your assets today, tomorrow and when you die. It involves the property that you currently own and may acquire, the possible needs you may require if unable to care for yourself and the decision of where and who shall receive your assets when you die. 

Certain documents are required for an estate plan: 

  • Will
  • Healthcare Proxy
  • Power of Attorney
  • HIPAA Release
  • Declaration of Homestead
  • A Trust (if applicable)

These are the basic components. The importance of having these (or additional) documents depends on where you are in life and what your status is. But, whether you’re single, married, divorced, remarried or widowed, having an estate plan is important. For every stage of life. 

Stay tuned next week when we finish discussing what happens when you decide you need an estate plan. If you have questions now that I can answer for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a Worcester Estate Planning Lawyer, I assist clients every day with their estate plans. Call my office at 508.852.7800 or reach out via our contact form.