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Harris & Murphy LLP

Mailing & Main Office

922 Waltham Street, Suite 105

Lexington, MA 02421

Cape Cod Office

900 Route 134, Suite 1-1

South Dennis, MA 02660

Phone: 508-385-0004

  • Patrick Murphy

Your First Step in Estate Planning


Clicking on this blog is the first step! You’re at least interested in a topic no one enjoys discussing. For that, we say congratulations. Estate Planning is tedious, stressful & even scary. Here is what you need to know to get started. There are four basic parts to an estate plan, they are; a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy & Declaration of Homestead.


Your will is an important document, that allows you to govern where your property will go once you pass on. This document is exclusive to you & contains the following people to be named by you; a personal representative, a guardian & a trustee. These roles can be filled by the same person or by a different person. A family member is usually best.


The next essential document is a Durable Power of Attorney. This person will handle your affairs & serve as your guardian if you become incapacitated. This is usually a spouse. We do recommend a backup, in the event both spouses become incapacitated at the same time.


One of the most important pieces of the estate planning puzzle is the Health Care Proxy. Commonly misnomered as the “Living Will” in Massachusetts. A Health Care Proxy is an extremely intimate document that expresses your medical decisions in the event you’re incapacitated.


The last basic, essential estate planning document is the Declaration of Homestead. This document allows you to protect $500,000 of equity in your home against seizures by judgement creditors. It must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds.


We understand this isn’t a fun topic to think about, much less plan for. We are constantly working to ensure that our prices, procedure & professionalism for handling your estate planning are simply the best. We have a more detailed Estate Planning Worksheet that we would love to send you, upon request. Please contact us, using the contact form here.