When it comes to protecting yourself and your family with advanced planning, there are three core components: determining what happens to your estate, developing plans for how your affairs and care will be managed if you become incapacitated, and creating a plan for how you’ll cover long term care if you need it.
Contacting an experienced estate planning lawyer in MA is the best way to talk through all three of these stages so that you can create a custom plan aligned with your individual needs. Much like you think of insurance as a way to safeguard your interests from unexpected threats, you can think of your estate plan as the way you determine what’s most important for you and then design the strategy to accomplish those goals. Read on to learn more about what to consider as you answer these three important questions.
What Happens to Your Estate?
If you pass away, do you have certain property you’d like to go to particular people? If you have any specific wishes, discussing them with a dedicated estate planning lawyer is the best way to protect your interests and ensure that the property passes as you wish.
Much like other states, Massachusetts has an intestate succession law that determines what happens to your property if you don’t make a plan for it on your own. Those rules apply across the board based on the members of your family and those rules might not align with your goals. Even if you told a certain person you wanted them to have your home or a treasured item, the court will pass property based on the people in your family without regard for those specific bequests.
If you do have specific bequests, they should be shared with your Massachusetts advanced planning lawyer as soon as possible.
What Happens if You Get Sick?
All people hope they live to an old age without any periods where they’re unable to think or speak for themselves. But anyone can be affected by a disability short or long term. Whether you’re in an accident and unable to speak for a few days or have a long-term cognitive issue, you need to name someone else to make decisions on your behalf. This is done through a document known as a power of attorney.
But that’s not the only document that comes front and center if you’re sick. Another one known as an advanced directive helps your family members know if you have any special wishes around things like end of life care. Without it, they might end up in arguments about your intentions. During what is already a hard time for them, you can ease the burden of confusion by creating a plan in advance and documenting it legally. Your Massachusetts advanced planning lawyer can help you with this.
What Happens if You Need Long Term Care?
Most people have a misunderstanding about nursing home care. They assume they’ll never need it or that if they have to get it that Medicare or private insurance will pick up the bill. If you don’t have an advanced long term care plan in Massachusetts, you are self-funding, meaning that you will likely need to pay the cost of care on your own. Long term care can be extremely expensive. If you’re married, it could decimate your personal savings to have your spouse tap into it to pay your nursing home bills.
While longevity has been increasing in recent decades, so too have the number of people needing some form of long term care in their future. The average cost of assisted living in MA is $5,640. A semi private room in a nursing home can cost upwards of $12,000. With no plan in place, you’re risking your own retirement and the financial support needed by your family.
Qualifying for Medicaid in Massachusetts is not automatic and often requires careful advanced planning with the help of an estate planning lawyer. Even small mistakes could block you from getting Medicaid support for yourself in the future for months. Knowing how Medicaid works and the legal and viable strategies for preparing to qualify can help you a great deal. In an ideal world, you’ll never need to tap into Medicaid. But if you or your spouse becomes ill and needs that care, you won’t have to think twice about what to do and you can make a decision about the best care facility for their needs.
If you want to learn more about how to coordinate your will, powers of attorney and advanced directives, and your long term care strategy, now is the time to speak with a dedicated MA estate planning attorney. Our office is available to sit down with you to work from your existing estate plan to evaluate gaps or to create a custom estate plan based on your goals. When you’re looking for an estate planning lawyer near you, you’ll protect yourself and your loved ones for years to come.
The Law Offices of Kimberly Butler Rainen: Planning for Families, Planning for Life
If you’re ready to learn more about advance planning, contact the Law Offices of Kimberly Butler Rainen, estate planning lawyers in Andover, Massachusetts, today. We have your best interests at heart and will help you ensure that your family is taken care of. Estate planning attorney Kimberly Butler Rainen’s knowledge base is second to none. She has worked with many clients to secure their future and their family’s well-being through estate planning, and she looks forward to serving you. Take the first step by scheduling a brief “get to know you” call at 978-409-1928 or complete our online form.
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