Question: What is the difference between an Estate Plan and a Will?  Why do I need one?

Answer: Versus, just a single Will, a basic estate plan consists of a Will, Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney and often a Declaration of Homestead.  99% of the clients who call for a Will, elect a full estate plan.  The additional documents are equally important, yet, the price difference is slight.  These documents serve different purposes.

A Will states your intentions for the distribution of real estate, money and possessions upon your death.  It also identifies a personal representative to manage your affairs and deliver your assets.  Most importantly, if you have minor children, a guardian is nominated in your Will, should both parents pass away.

A Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney give another individual medical and financial decision-making authority on your behalf, if you are medically incapacitated.   Finally, a Declaration of Homestead is drawn to protect your home’s equity against creditors.

Why do you need an estate plan?:  To officially state your decision regarding the above matters.  Without these documents, family members are left in turmoil trying to make major decisions and handle assets.  Further, should you be medically unable to act on your own behalf, your spouse, or anyone else, will be unable to control of your affairs without such documents.

Attorney James Haroutunian practice includes estate planning law.  Contact him to begin your estate plan or with questions at the Haroutunian Law Office at 790 Boston Road, Billerica, 978-671-0711,,, or email at

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