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estate planning massachusettsWhen you die, the path forward may not always be clear or obvious to the ones you’ve left. Death can be a lot of work. You can ease the process for your loved ones by sharing your wishes with them and setting up an estate plan before you go.

Stage 1: Funeral Arrangements

You can work with a funeral home in advance of your death to make burial or cremation arrangements. Note that legally, your next of kin will be making these decisions on his or her own if you have not appointed a representative or set a plan in place yourself. Paying for funeral arrangements can be expensive and sometimes complicated if estate funds are not readily available. Having a trust in place will ensure your heirs can readily access funds to pay for your funeral or celebration of life arrangements.

Stage 2: Probate

Probate enables a representative to take action on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. It can be a long and sometimes stressful procedure, particularly if real estate is involved. Using estate planning techniques, you can help your heirs avoid or simplify the probate process.

Stage 3: The Personal Representative

The personal representative named in a will be responsible for breaking down all the nitty gritty aspects of your life. This means giving away or selling your belongings, cancelling all your subscriptions, turning off the water and heat in your home, selling your house, paying your final bills and creditors, filing your income or estate tax return, and making distributions to your heirs.

Stage 4: Distributions

Once assets have been gathered and creditors have been paid, the personal representative has the authority to make distributions to your heirs. You can optimize their inheritance using estate planning tax minimization techniques.

Handling all of these tasks can be difficult for a grieving family member. It’s best to plan in advance to minimize the hassle for your loved ones. With a properly drafted estate plan, much of the guess work and court involvement can be removed from the equation.

Have questions? Reach out to [email protected].

Racki Law
Gregory Racki

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Leah Lynch
Leah was raised in Greater Boston, where she met her husband in 2006. They moved to North Carolina for a few years before deciding their hearts were still in Massachusetts. Leah is a stay-at-home mom and has three children — boy, girl, boy — born in 2011, 2014, and 2017. Her oldest son in autistic. Children with disabilities — and the families raising them — have a special place in Leah's heart. She loves "The Office," date nights, tacos, U.S. history, and the beach. She enjoys sharing her experiences of motherhood, the good and the difficult, to encourage other moms that they are not alone. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, and country music