One of the main reasons that Massachusetts adults delay starting the estate planning process is because they assume they are too young or healthy enough to where this process is not necessary. However, estate planning is beneficial for every adult, regardless of income level, health status and age. When deciding to start this process and put certain protections in place for the future, it is not always easy to know where to start.
Spring is in the air, which typically brings plans for summer vacation and travel. This year, with the advent of COVID-19, people in Massachusetts may be considering travel closer to home. They may also be thinking of making sure their affairs are in order before vacations begin. No one knows how widely the virus may spread and being prepared for the worst can allow one to better enjoy a hard-earned vacation. Having basic estate planning documents in place is a smart move to consider.
Some families are very close-knit and communicate regularly on issues both great and small. Other families may be less communicative and keep important information to themselves. There is one area in which open communication can greatly benefit families in Massachusetts. Sharing estate planning information with loved ones may be a sensitive topic but it can save a tremendous amount of heartache at a future date.
The baby boomer generation is aging, nearing retirement or already there. While many may have already done estate planning, many in Massachusetts have not. Many of their children are stuck in what has been referred to as the "sandwich generation," having young children and aging parents at the same time. Discussing death with one's parents is not easy but doing so can provide peace of mind to all concerned knowing that the parent's final wishes have been noted and are properly documented.
Retirement planning and estate planning have both gone through changes in recent years in how people plan for them in Massachusetts. The two often go hand in hand when integrating retirement planning into estate planning where financial issues are concerned. One wants to enjoy retirement but may also wish to leave a certain amount for children or grandchildren. One vehicle that has been used to accomplish this is the IRA account.
There are likely a number of things a person should do before they pass from the life. Estate planning is one of those things, and Massachusetts residents who have a number of assets might find planning easier if they know a few things about the federal estate tax or death tax as it is known. This federal estate tax is currently imposed upon estates worth $11.4 million or more, but when planning, a wealthy testator should know that amount -- as of now -- goes down to $5 million on Jan. 1, 2026. If there is tax owing, it must be paid within nine months of the testator's death.
Some people hear the term estate planning and think it's something their parents may need to consider or maybe something to think about as one gets older. The reality of it all is that people can benefit from having a plan at any age in Massachusetts. The focus of the plan may be different for someone on their 20s versus someone in their 50s or 60s but estate planning is for any adult.
Getting older is a natural part of life and the number of older Americans will grow exponentially in the next few years as the majority of baby boomers in Massachusetts and around the country reach retirement age. Contemplating one's mortality is not easy but procrastination where estate planning is concerned is not the way to approach it. Failure to plan for the future could result in unintended consequences including the bulk of one's estate being gobbled up by nursing homes.
Another New Year has arrived and one's thoughts may turn to the future and possibly to the legacy that one might eventually want to leave for loved ones. Confronting mortality may not seem to be an appealing task, but it is inevitable as no one gets out of here alive. In considering estate planning in Massachusetts there are many questions one may wish to consider.
Another year is coming to an end in Massachusetts. The year end brings with it a time of reflection in reviewing the past year and anticipation of what the new year may hold. Families gather and reflect and look forward together. Aging relatives may be concerned about their legacy but hesitant to raise the subject of estate planning and end-of-life planning. The truth is that family gatherings can be an excellent time to review these issues.