For many Massachusetts residents, the fact that they do not have an estate plan in place doesn’t bother them. But, it should. As a recent article pointed out, there are only so many places that assets can pass to, including family, friends, charities or the government, in most cases. Without an estate plan in place, you have no say in the distribution of your assets. That, and other important points, should be the foremost in mind for Massachusetts residents who are considering where to start when it comes to estate planning.

Thinking about how your assets should be distributed is one thing, but it is another to consider the vehicle by which those assets will be handed down. For some, a simple will is sufficient. But, for others, trusts may be an option to consider. Any given person’s financial and family situation is different, so getting more information about the available options as you start the estate planning process is crucial.

Next, one of the main goals of having an estate plan in place is to ensure a smooth transition of assets to other parties. As a result, establishing an estate plan in such a way that potential litigation is sidestepped, to the greatest degree possible, should be another consideration for Massachusetts residents who are getting started on their estate plans.

Lastly, as the recent article noted, once your estate plan is in place it is important to revisit it from time to time to make sure that, if needed, the plan is updated. Our readers should remember that an estate plan is not something that should be just “set and forget,” as the recent article pointed out. Updating the plan after major life events, such as marriage, the birth of children or the death of appointed beneficiaries, for example, is crucial.