The Cost of Not Having an Estate Plan

It is not uncommon for people to put off creating an estate plan because they think it may be expensive and because it's scary. It is scary to think about. However, it is important to understand the potential costs of not having an estate plan in place. 

Having a Power of Attorney in place can potentially save money if something unexpected happens. By creating a Power of Attorney, you are giving someone else the power to act as you would act in certain circumstances. This can arise when a person becomes incapacitated because of mental illness, an accident, a medical emergency, etc. Without a Power of Attorney, if you can't handle your estate matters yourself, your family will be faced with the cost of deciding the best way to handle the situation. 

Having a Healthcare Proxy in place can not only save money, but it may also give you peace of mind. This allows you to decide who will make your healthcare decisions if you are not able to do it yourself. It also allows you to give some guidance about what treatments you would or wouldn't want. It allows you to let your family and doctors know whether you would like to be treated in a hospital or whether hospice is something you might consider, for example. Knowing that you can express your wishes ahead of time can make the estate planning process less scary. 

Creating a will and/or trust ahead of time allows you to make important decisions about what happens when you pass away. Who will your children live with? Who will you leave your home to? Without making these decisions, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of Massachusetts, which may not be the way you would have wanted them to be distributed. 

While estate planning may sound scary initially, it can help you feel more relaxed to plan ahead. And, while it can be easy to put off creating your estate plan because you don't think you have the money or enough assets, the cost of not having one could be more.