In this economic crisis, people are trying to cut back where they can- be it dinners out,
that new couch, or even necessary home repairs. However, some things that often seem like
luxuries often turn out to be necessities. Such is the case with estate plans.
While a simple estate plan for a married couple consisting of a will, power of attorney and
health care proxy might be in the range of $500-$1000, the cost of NOT having a plan will
definitely be thousands, and even more if minor children are involved.
Failure of the parents of minor children to prepare a will naming a guardian could result in
family fights and expensive litigation, not to mention the disruption in the lives of the
children. Failure of these parents to establish a trust for the children’s benefit will
result in even more unintended consequences. Since minors cannot own property, the court
will oversee the children’s money until they reach age 18, leading to additional time,
expense and red tape, not to mention allowing the children to receive substantial assets at
age 18, prior to even beginning college!
A power of attorney is another essential document. This document appoints a person to act on
behalf of another, should that person become disabled or incompetent. This document can
avoid the need for a guardianship which will be public, involve numerous court appearances,
take weeks to obtain and cost thousands of dollars.
A health care proxy, in which you appoint an agent to make medical decisions when you cannot
speak for yourself, also avoids family conflicts. In addition, the document can be used to
express your wishes regarding end of life care, saving family members from making those
agonizing decisions without any guidance. A properly drafted proxy avoids litigation when
certain family members disagree on the care plan.
Taking the time to sit with a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney may seem like a
luxury, but it is not. It is one of those measures that you do, not for yourself, but for
those you leave behind- for those who are going to be directly affected by your loss. You
purchase life insurance to protect your family, why not take time to make sure that the
devastation of your loss is not compounded by having to deal with the mess left behind.
The Law Office of Karen A. McSherry in North Easton, MA is committed to providing legal
services and solutions to clients in the areas of Estate Planning and
Administration, Nursing Home Planning and Business and Tax Planning.
Attorney McSherry has more than 20 years experience, having earned her
Masters of Law in Taxation (LLM) at the Boston University School of Law,
her JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School and her B.A. in Public
Administration from Stonehill College. As an active member of the
Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA),
Attorney McSherry stays current on the latest changes in legal issues
affecting all of us. For more information or to schedule an appointment, Please call Karen
at 508-238-3333. For more information on the Law
Office of Karen A. McSherry, , go to www.kmcsherrylaw.com.