In many families, money, with regard to how much individual family members make and have, is a taboo subject. Discussing one's wealth and assets or lack thereof, can be an uncomfortable topic and this can be especially true for parents who struggle to discuss topics related to their personal wealth and the transfer of that wealth with grown children.
While same sex marriage has been allowed in Massachusetts for over 10 years, the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the legality of such unions, has brought to light some of the matters that same sex-couples should address. For example, LGBT couples need to make sure that their estate plan adequately reflects their wishes regarding their spouse.
Upon hearing the term estate planning, many people experience feelings of anxiety and worry. Let's face it, no one wants to think about their own mortality and many people solely equate the estate planning process with just that. In reality, there are numerous reasons why, regardless of age or health, it's important to take steps to establish an estate plan.
There are many unknowns in life. These uncertainties become especially apparent when one contemplates his or her future long-term care and health needs. While there's no way to predict the future or truly know how much money you'll need or be able to leave to your loved ones, estate planning helps an individual gain more control over both his or her future as well as the financial security of surviving heirs.
Many Massachusetts residents would likely consider a will to be the most important estate planning document. In many cases, a last will and testament serves as the cornerstone of a comprehensive estate plan and provides directives for the distribution of an individual's property, assets and personal belongings.
Most people focus heavily on their retirement accounts, investment funds, life insurance policies and real property when planning their estate, paying little attention to personal property such as family heirlooms, jewelry, art and collections.
If you are like most parents, you probably plan to leave a fair share of assets to each of your children when you pass. But it might be more complicated than just dividing your assets equally among your kids, because fair doesn’t always mean equal when it comes to estate planning.
The fact that the heirs of the late Robin Williams are now battling over their inheritances in court is no laughing matter. As the Hartford Courant pointed out in a recent article, while Williams’ estate plan was tax efficient, it may have been lacking in other areas.
While most baby boomers are eager to make sure their retirement plans are in order, USA TODAY recently reported that too few are accounting for an estate plan, which can result in stress and conflict for surviving family members.
Effective estate planning is just as important, if not more important, for people without children as it is for people with children.