According to a 2017 Caring.com survey, only 36% of American adults with children under 18 have estate plans – estate plans include documents like wills, power of attorney and health care proxy. In Massachusetts, if you die without a will, your property is subject to intestate succession laws where the state divides your assets to your heirs as defined by state law (spouse, children, siblings, parents, cousin etc.) in predetermined amounts and percentages. A will is a document that states what should happen to your property upon your death. For the complete article, follow our link to the Boston Globe.
The end may not be near, but you still need a will
By Kara Baskin | Boston Globe
Writing a will is one of life’s unpleasant inevitabilities, ranking right up there with colonoscopies and root canals. Only 36 percent of American adults with children under 18 have estate plans in place, according to a 2017 Caring.com survey. Estate plans include documents such as a will, a power of attorney, and a health care proxy.
Beyond the fact that it’s not fun to contemplate one’s own demise, what accounts for the low number? Some people are put off by the grandiose “estate planning” term, says Kerry Reilly, an estate planning attorney in Boston who works with the “financial 99 percent.”
“An estate can sound like yachts and stuff. A lot of people think there’s a minimum asset limit. The biggest misconception is: I don’t need to do this, I don’t have enough money,” she says. “I prefer to call it personal contingency planning.”
Such planning is essential, because dying without a will in Massachusetts means that certain property is subject to intestate succession laws, wherein the state disburses assets to your heirs as defined by state laws (spouses, children, siblings, parents, cousins, and so on) in predetermined amounts and percentages.
Assets for which you’ve assigned a beneficiary, such as a 401(k) or life insurance plan, won’t end up there — but non-beneficiary accounts, such as checking accounts or property, could.
“Your will tells the Commonwealth: I want this person to handle my affairs. If I have any property, I want it to go here and not there. Otherwise, assets may not be distributed in the way you want,” Reilly warns. Read More