When people talk about “Estate Planning,” they often think that it is only for the wealthy. We believe that most people live with the misconception that they don’t have much, so they don’t need a will or estate planning. What you have might not be much to you but maybe a lot to someone else. You have worked long and hard for your possessions; whether it be a car, co-op apartment, or portfolio of skyscrapers, these are your assets, and you should have a say in who gets them.
Rich or poor, we all are going to die someday, and nobody will take their estate with them. Now, would you want the courts based on state law, to decide who will own your house, car, furniture, and other investment after your death? We think most believe in having a say! We believe that a proper estate plan can give you such voice while making a pass-through of assets a less complicated process for your loved ones. Also, keep in mind estate planning isn’t just about planning for death. It is also about planning for life, and this part of estate planning most forget about or ignore.
I’m not rich. Do I still need estate planning?
Yes! The biggest misconception about estate planning revolves around people who have accumulated significant wealth or lots of assets. We like to start with the basics when we speak to our clients about estate planning. For example, do you have children under the age of 18? If the answer is yes, then you need estate planning. What will happen to your minor children if you and your spouse are no longer around? Who will take care of your underage children? By creating a Will, you can designate a legal guardian for your minor children who will be responsible for their upbringing and welfare if you are no longer around. Don’t you want to say who that person will be?
Rich or poor be it a savings account with 20,000 dollars in it or three brownstones that you own, planning for life is essential. Estate planning is not just about passing on assets to the next generation but also about who will be able to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot do it for yourself? In a good estate plan, there is a healthcare proxy that allows the person of your picking to make medical decisions on your behalf and a durable power of attorney that allows a person to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you start to suffer from dementia one day, don’t you think having these documents in place will be helpful?
If I am not wealthy, what are the benefits of having an estate plan?
We know that this question mentioned above crosses many people’s minds. Many people say that they aren’t wealthy, don’t have any estate, and don’t have any property, so why do they need estate planning? You must understand that planning for the future is essential. There are many unforeseen circumstances in life; hopefully, with a good estate plan, you will be able to cover and plan for some of them.
- By creating a Will, you can appoint a legal guardian of your choice for your minor children,
- By creating a healthcare proxy, you can empower someone you trust to make medical choices on your behalf in the event you are in a car accident or with age to suffer from dementia and are unable to make such decision on your own,
- By creating a durable power of attorney, you can empower someone to make monetary decisions on your behalf if, god forbid, one says you suffer from a stroke or become mentally incapacitated and can’t make them for yourself.
- By creating a Trust, you can make an extra layer of asset protection safeguarding that which is yours for your loved ones.
As you can see, estate planning is essential for all, and it is not always estate planning about sizable assets or wealth.