Question: What is the difference between an estate plan and a will? Why do I need one?

Answer: A basic estate plan consists of a will, health care proxy, durable power of attorney and often a declaration of homestead verses a single will. Ninety-nine percent of the clients who call Priority Law 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 gives another individual medical decision-making authority on your behalf, if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

A Durable Power of Attorney gives another individual 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 your affairs without such documents.

Schedule a consultation with Priority Law to discuss your options to set up an estate plan.

The article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.