The Standard Estate Plan

Last Will and Testament 

A declaration of your wishes with regard to how your property will be disposed of and who 

will care for your surviving minor children as guardian after your death. To carry out these 

wishes, a personal representative is nominated to manage the settlement of your estate. 

 

Family Trust 

Serves as an asset management and distribution mechanism for the benefit of your 

surviving children (beneficiaries). The trust will receive assets which pass under your will 

and proceeds from life insurance policies. A trustee is appointed and empowered to 

manage and distribute the trust assets to your beneficiaries.  A Family Trust is the most effective

way to avoid probate and ensure instant access to your assets upon one's passing or incapacity.

 

Durable Power of Attorney 

In the event of your future incapacity, loss of consciousness, or unavailability, an individual 

is appointed to manage your financial affairs. This individual (attorney-in-fact) is 

empowered to pay expenses, collect debts, purchase or sell assets, make gifts, manage 

businesses, etc. on your behalf. 

 

Healthcare Proxy 

In the event of your future incapacity or loss of consciousness, an individual is designated to 

make your healthcare decisions. This individual (healthcare agent) is empowered to consult 

with your doctors, access and review your medical records, and make informed health care 

decisions on your behalf. 

 

Living Will/Advance Directive 

This document allows you to declare your wish to avoid the artificial prolongation of life if 

there is no reasonable likelihood of recovery from a terminal condition. While not legally 

enforceable in Massachusetts, it offers direction to your healthcare agent with regard to 

your wishes on this matter. 

 

Appointment of Temporary Agent for Care of Minor 

While your Will addresses permanent guardianship, this document considers temporary 

guardianship. In the event both parents are simultaneously incapacitated or unavailable, an 

individual is appointed to take temporary custody of your minor children. Temporary 

guardianship is generally terminated when either or both parents regain capacity or 

become available. 

 

Declaration of Homestead 

Protects an increased amount of equity (as of 2014, $500,000.00) in your primary residence 

for which you reside with your family from many prospective creditors. This document is 

recorded at the registry of deeds in the county for which the real property is located. 

The information provided herein does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion on any specific fact or circumstance. It is designed for general information only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.