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 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.