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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.