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Arlanson Law Offices
Five Assinippi Avenue
P.O. Box 111
Hanover, MA 02339
(781) 659-5900


What happens if I do no Life and Estate Planning at all?

To accept the "default" plan of the State, in the event of a lifetime incapacity or disability, family members and/or friends will probably proceed to the Probate Court to determine who among them will run your financial affairs with the direction of the Probate Court and the Judge of Probate. Thus, it may be necessary for the court to appoint a Guardian or a Conservator for you and your assets during your lifetime, or to make health decisions and/or financial decisions. The person or persons named by the court may not be one(s) whom you would choose. Upon your demise, the Probate Court would most probably be involved in a death probate proceeding for assets which are in your name. If you have specific contract rights regarding life insurance, annuities, retirement plans and the like, those assets will be distributed outright in accordance with beneficiary designation or the "box" you have checked with the contract administrator without much direction whatsoever.

Additionally, if true "joint property" is involved, presumably the surviving tenant will take sole possession of the property to do with as he/she wishes. Then some person(s) may have to prepare and file Estate Tax Returns and Income Tax Returns for you, and a number of death administration issues may have to be undertaken, probably with the on-going supervision of the Probate Court, being a public proceeding and always under the control of the Probate Judge. This could prove to be fairly slow, time-consuming and expensive. The "default" plan in which your assets are maintained during your lifetime or distributed after your demise might be totally different from what you would otherwise have wished had you become proactive and taken advantage of your planning opportunities.

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