Those who want to minimize taxes on their estate plans should consider lifetime gifting. The time has never been better for Massachusetts residents to do so in their estate planning since the lifetime exemption for estates and gifts is at an all-time high -- $22.8 million joint exemption for those who are married and $11.4 million for singles. Analysts say those figures could change, so people would be wise to take action now.
People thinking about writing a will or any other estate documents will want to make sure everything is in order for their heirs. Estate planning in Massachusetts should be comprehensive. In other words, an estate plan needs to ensure they have all the documents they need and that everything is properly documented for beneficiaries. There are common problems heirs may have with estates, but there are also ways a testator can bypass those problems for beneficiaries.
It is always wise to be prepared for things that might not happen. When Massachusetts residents begin doing some estate planning, experts say they should also consider putting into place a financial emergency kit for their families, just in case. Those types of emergencies could include weather-related events, job losses, health-related events or having to care for an ill family member.
The quote by Benjamin Franklin, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today," can apply to so many areas of your life. There are numerous things you know you should probably do but feel there is no urgency to do them. Estate planning is one of those things that many Massachusetts residents put off, sometimes until it is too late.
A peaceful family is a happy family. Massachusetts residents who are working on their estate plans likely know that estate planning could be a very emotional undertaking that could elicit strong opinions from family members -- especially siblings. There are ways to write an estate plan that minimizes any friction or rivalry that might occur from decisions made about inheritances.
Massachusetts adults often put off thinking about the future because they assume they are too young or not wealthy enough to need any type of protection. As adults grow older and their children become adults, they may start to see the benefit of estate planning and having specific legal and financial documents in place. This can be complicated when children are adults and have opinions of their own, and estate planning can actually be the source of family conflict.
The 21st century has opened a new can of worms regarding estate plans. Now on the estate planning menu for many Massachusetts residents are digital assets. Many things have been digitized and not everything everyone owns is in a hard copy format. Anything online that a person owns is considered to be a digital asset.
Massachusetts adults can benefit from making plans and looking to the future, regardless of age or income status. Estate planning is not something reserved only for the old and wealthy, but it is useful for individuals of all life stages. Having a plan in place will provide certain benefits and protections that may be specific to the individual stage of life or unique objectives.
There is one thing people can do before they pass on to make things easier on their loved ones. No Massachusetts resident likes to think about his or her own demise, but taking some time out to work on estate planning documents may provide some comfort in knowing family members won't be saddled with the task of sorting through personal and financial effects. There is much more to an estate plan that a will.
It's impossible to predict the future, but there are things a Massachusetts adult can do to make sure his or her long-term interests are secure. One of these things is thoughtful and thorough estate planning. Some assume this is not necessary because they are young or because they are not wealthy, but the reality is that planning for the future is smart for every adult at any stage of life.