Before I became an attorney, I knew very little about estate planning. I figured, like many other people, that I didn’t have to worry about estate planning because I wasn’t wealthy. But I could not have been farther from the truth. Estate planning is important for everyone it is never too early to start!
Your estate consists of everything that you own or have a controlling interest in. This includes your personal property, real estate, cash, financial securities, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc. No matter how big or small your estate is, you can’t take it with you when you die. Having an estate plan will allow you to create a plan for what will happen to everything in your estate when you pass away. The transfer of the property in your estate is usually done by a last will and trust, a trust, beneficiary designations, or a combination of the three.
But a good estate plan just doesn’t stop there. A well-drafted estate plan allows you to not only make a plan for your property but will also put you in control of:
· who will raise your children should you pass away while they are still minors;
· your health care including end of life care; and
· the unexpected.
To put it simply, estate planning is life planning. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be wealthy to start the estate planning process. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can and will happen. So, why not make a plan for it? A good estate plan puts you in the driver's seat and gives you control, which will, in turn, alleviate the burdens of your surviving family and friends.