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Waltham Legal Issues Blog

Prenuptial agreements can benefit both parties in a marriage

Getting married is an event that many Massachusetts residents look forward to. They may anticipate many happy years with their spouse and think about starting a family. Of course, there is a chance that hopes and dreams for the future will not work out as desired, and having prenuptial agreements in place may be wise.

It is not unusual for individuals to skip this part of marriage preparation. Some people may think that bringing up a prenuptial agreement means that their future spouse will think they have no confidence in the relationship. However, a prenup can act as a safeguard in the event of divorce, but it does not necessarily mean that a relationship will inevitably come to an end.

Knowing the options with a durable power of attorney

There may be a multitude of scenarios in which a person in Massachusetts or elsewhere could become incapable of making important decisions in life. Those who wish to plan for the possibility of sudden incapacitation could find it helpful to explore the potential benefits of a power of attorney. One such option includes creating a durable power of attorney and having a similar strategy in place could prove beneficial in various ways.

A durable power of attorney is a document in which the grantor gives another person the power to make decisions on his or her behalf. With a durable power of attorney, the agent may retain the power to act on behalf of the grantor in the event of incapacitation. There are several ways in which a durable power of attorney can be cancelled and there are also a variety of options to help ensure the arrangement meets the wishes of the grantor.

Making changes to an estate plan after a divorce

Going through the end of a marriage can be a stressful experience that could bring about a variety of changes in life. Individuals in Massachusetts to encounter a similar circumstances in life may wish to take every possible measure to protect their futures, but with a multitude of topics to address, knowing the necessary steps to take could seem intimidating. Those who experience a similar life change may find it helpful to consider reviewing their estate plans and making the necessary modifications to keep their plans in line with their current preferences.

After going through a divorce, there are a variety of estate planning topics a person may need to address. For instance, reviewing and updating information on health care directives could be essential to ensuring one's needs are provided for should the unthinkable occur. In addition, updating power of attorney information may also be vital to ensuring one's assets and finances remain protected.

Even younger individuals could benefit from having an estate plan

When individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere think about planning for the future, many may feel the process is better suited for those who are wealthy or closing in on retirement age. However, experts indicate that having an estate plan could be beneficial regardless of one's level of wealth or age. By exploring all the available estate planning options, a person could gain insight on how to make informed decisions about the future while removing the presence of uncertainty in the process.

Experts indicate that there are a variety of reasons in which entering the estate planning process early in life could prove beneficial. One may never know what the future will hold, and as such, having a plan in place for the unknown could prove vital. Exploring the possible benefits of options such as health care directives and beneficiary designations could prove vital to forming a plan to protect one's interests and loved ones should the unimaginable occur.

Estate planning: Worrying about playing favorites might not help

Many individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere may face a variety of difficult decisions while attempting to develop a strategy for the future. For parents who have multiple children, choosing who will manage their affairs when the time comes may seem an intimidating task. Those who wish to gain insight into how to make informed decisions about each of their estate planning options could benefit from seeking guidance from someone with experience in the area.

When it comes to choosing a person to manage one's estate, experts indicate that it might not always be possible, or even preferable to attempt to be equal. However, parents may worry that choosing one child to handle their affairs could leave others feeling left out or mistreated. Worrying that such a decision could create a rift among siblings could lead some parents into delaying the estate planning process or forgoing it altogether.

While having a will could be vital, is it always enough?

While many individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere may feel it is vital to have a strategy in place for the future, they might not be always be aware of all their available estate planning options. Studies indicate that there are a multitude of individuals who do not have a plan in place, while others may be content with having only a will. While wills may play a vital role in the estate planning process, experts indicate that exploring the benefits of all available options could prove imperative.

There are a variety of potential benefits to drafting and executing a will. For instance, the terms of a will can provide guidelines for guardianship of minors and the division of assets. However, those who have concerns over how their loved ones will manage their assets may also find it helpful to consider the possible benefits of using a trust, as the terms of a will may have little to no influence over the spending habits of beneficiaries.

Addressing taxes during the estate planning process

Many individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere may feel that one of the most intimidating aspects of planning an estate pertains to deciding how to distribute their assets. With a variety of options to explore, each of which may come with numerous potential issues to address, deciding on a path can seem a stressful endeavor. For instance, understanding the potential ramifications of taxes could prove vital to making informed choices during the estate planning process, as this knowledge could have a significant influence on the decisions a person makes.

One scenario in which having an understanding of the role taxes will play in asset distribution could prove vital pertains to a desire to leave assets to a charity. Experts indicate that those who wish to allocate funds to charity may often choose to list the organization as a beneficiary in a will or trust. However, they might not always leave terms as to the method in which they wish the donation to be made.

Trust: Being flexible when planning for the future

When forming a strategy for the future, many individuals in Massachusetts may feel it vital to ensure that they have the options to make changes to their plans should the need arise. Some may be hesitant to explore estate planning options out of fear that what they put in motion might be set in stone. By understanding how to help promote flexibility in options such as a trust, one might be able to overcome previous reservations and begin planning for what comes next with peace of mind.

When setting up a trust, those who wish to take a more flexible approach to the process could consider giving discretion to the trustee. With a discretionary trust, the trustor could give the trustee the power to make decisions pertaining to the distribution of assets within the trust. The trustor may also have the option of setting guidelines that the trustee must follow when making these decisions.

A prenup does not have to cause negative feelings

As you and your partner prepare for marriage, you probably have a list of things to complete before the big day. Signing a prenuptial agreement may not be on the list. Perhaps this is because you are confident that your marriage will stand the test of time, and you don't want to start your life together by deciding how you will divide your property if you divorce.

These are reasonable arguments, and it is common for engaged couples to resist the idea of a prenup because they don't want to taint the optimism of the moment. However, a prenuptial agreement can actually be a generous gift to your partner because it can provide protection and security against an uncertain future. It can also be a way to broach delicate and vital topics that couples just starting out are reluctant to discuss.

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