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Spring Cleaning: Estate Planning

BOSTON (CBS) - Estate planning is next on our spring cleaning list.

If you have done your estate planning, when did you do it? Where do you keep the documents? Does your family know where they are? Estate Planning should be updated every time there is a major life event such as a marriage, birth, death, divorce.

If you have not done any estate planning, and about half of our listeners haven't done any, Massachusetts has some laws that will do it for you.

Listeners tell me they don't think they need estate planning because they don't have enough money to warrant a will. Or they own everything jointly so why bother with a will. But what happens when you both die?

Do you have kids? Who would you want to care for your kids if you should die? Do you have stuff you want to go to friends or family?

An estate plan helps to distribute your assets upon your death and it can do more. If you have kids, you can name a guardian who will take care of your children if both you and your spouse should die.

All you may need is a simple will, but if your life and finances are complicated then your estate planning should also be complicated.

And if you did do some estate planning a long time ago, find those documents and review them. These documents are very important but should not be kept in a safe deposit box. If something should happen, your family may not have immediate access to them.

Good to leave originals with your attorney and better to keep copies in your home file.

Documents you will need while you are alive are your Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. These should be kept at home. The people named in those documents as your proxy should have copies as well.

If you have set up a Living Trust, you want that document readily available and again accessible to the person you have named as your alternate trustee.

As for your will, your executor should know where your will is stored and have access to it. Along with any instructions such as funeral arrangements.


You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee's Money Matters newsletter here.

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