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Elder Law Blog

Estate planning isn't all about taxes

When considering one's estate, many find themselves worried about the taxes that could eliminate a large portion of their assets before they are bequeathed to loved ones. Though this should be a major concern, there are many other issues to address when going through the process of estate planning. Elderly individuals in Boston should be aware of this. Here are several other realms that often get placed on the back burner when thinking about one's estate:

Issues often arise when an estate does not have clearly identified beneficiaries. This should be a major concern for anyone who wants his or her will to be executed effortlessly after they have passed away. For instance, some wills indicate that they want their belongings given to their children. Naming a group is a mistake that should not happen; instead, name the individuals who you would like to see certain assets given to. Complications can arise when a person has adopted individuals and any confusion in beneficiaries may result in your estate being litigated, potentially putting a wedge between family members.

Another issue that estate planning can address that few people consider is when the person becomes incapacitated. In order to alleviate any worries about what happens to you after you are no longer cognitive, be sure to file a health care power of attorney and a durable power of attorney. The former addresses any medical decisions that need to be made in regards to you. The person given the medical power of attorney is tasked with making those decisions. The person designated in the durable power of attorney holds your financial responsibility when you cannot handle it yourself.

In some cases, a person may own a business. The estate of a business owner should address who gets ownership and how management of the business should be conducted. Voting control can also be discussed in the estate plans, as can buy-sell arrangements between family members and loved ones who receive a portion of the business but either want more or do not want to participate.

Source: WRAL Techwire, "Top 10 'non-tax' estate planning recommendations," Stuart B. Dorsett, Jan. 2, 2013

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