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    What Is An "Estate Plan" Anyway?

    Maybe you've decided that this is the year when you create an estate plan - your financial advisor has "complete estate plan" on your to-do list at your regular check ins, your friends and family members have told you they recently "had their estate plan done," or an article you read mentioned the importance of a comprehensive estate plan.

         Often, people know they need to "have an estate plan done," without knowing exactly what that means. Estate planning is a process that will, in most cases, result in the creation of certain estate planning documents. There are five basic documents that are often part of a core estate plan:

    1.    Will (and, if minor children, an Emergency Guardianship Proxy);

    2.    Revocable Trust;

    3.    Health Care ProxyHIPAA Authorization and Living Will;

    4.    Durable Power of Attorney; and

    5.    A Declaration of Homestead.

         Many people who call our office tell us they are calling because they "need a will" or "someone said they should have a trust." It is true that almost all adults in Massachusetts need a will, and many could benefit from the appropriate type of trust. However, these documents are just the end products of the estate planning process.

         During the estate planning process, you learn about the basic documents listed above (and maybe a few others, depending upon your needs), share your family's goals, values and concerns with your estate planner, and thoroughly review the type and amount of assets you own and expect to own. Your financial advisor, insurance advisor and accountant, if you have them, are often part of this process. Estate planning also continues beyond producing and having you sign those documents - your estate planner will talk with you about how to make each document, and your overall plan, most effective.

         If you are interested in talking further about your estate plan, please contact us at or 781 864-9977

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