Estate Planning in the New Year

Most of you have put some thought into your goals for 2019. I am confident that “drafting an estate plan” did not make the list. People put off planning for many reasons. For instance, many believe they do not have an “estate” or that nothing will happen to them. Some people think that everything will automatically go to their spouse or to their children. Others just do not like to think about death or have not found the time. Sound familiar?

There are many misconceptions about who will take over if you become incapacitated and about how your assets will be distributed when you die. The fact is, there are laws that dictate what happens in these situations and judges who make decisions about highly personal situations for individuals and for families about whom they know nothing. If you had control, you would likely want to make such decisions for yourself. You can have control if you have a well drafted estate plan.

Here are some “What ifs” for you to consider:

What if you become sick or are in an accident and cannot make your own medical decisions, handle your finances, or care for your family? What will happen in these situations?

What if you are in a car accident and the babysitter does not know who to call? After hours of not hearing from you, the sitter calls the police. If there is no Temporary Guardianship in place, your children will be brought to temporary foster care until the police can locate a family member.

What if something tragic happens? Have you thought about who you want to raise your children? Would you want a judge to make this decision?

What if you have a blended family or are on a second marriage and want to make sure that your hard-earned assets go to the right people? Can you think of people who you do not want to get your assets?

Whatever your motivation, everyone needs an estate plan. The plan is not about getting documents signed. Think about the planning and detail that you put into your wedding day? You planned out every minute and every detail. I bet you asked your photographer or your DJ what happens if they get sick on that day? Do they have a back-up? You thought about contingency plans for bad weather and other things that seemed catastrophic at the time. Maybe you had a wedding coordinator who listened to your hopes and dreams and, then, used his or her expertise to plan and execute the perfect wedding day. This is the mindset in estate planning: you think through what you want for your life, for your family, and for your legacy, but for longer than just one day.

Estate planning is thinking about the unthinkable and planning for your family, even in your absence. The best approach to estate planning is to take a wholistic look at your life, to take into account your family, your values, your goals and your concerns, and to work with an experienced attorney who can be your “coordinator” to customize a plan that supports your vision. For assistance, contact Sharna Favuzza at or 781.914.3778.

Posted on Jan | 2019
Experienced Advocates | Effective Solutions