Estate Planning is for Everyone – A Basic Guide

Estate Planning is for Everyone – A Basic Guide

Here is the thing: you don’t have to be rich to opt for estate planning, as estate planning isn’t only for the wealthiest, but it is for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are; you should know that life is unpredictable, and if you don’t take care of your assets, they can end up in legal limbo for many years. 


What Happens If You Don’t Opt for Estate Planning?

Estate planning is how you plan for the unexpected. On that note, estate planning isn’t only about planning for death, but it includes planning for disability or incapacity. With estate planning, you can ensure that your wishes are honored when something happens, including how your assets are distributed or that someone you love can make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot do them yourself. 

Without the availing of estate planning services, if you become incapacitated, the court will take over and appoint a guardian or conservator, which can potentially be expensive as well as emotionally difficult. 

Besides, if you die without an estate plan, the state’s default distribution game kicks in. Simultaneously, your loved one will require a probate, which can potentially result in your assets being given to people you don’t want or have ever even thought about.

Without estate planning, your decisions can fall into the hands of people you don’t trust making healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf. 


What Can You Achieve with Estate Planning?

With the help of estate planning, you can achieve the following aspects:

  • Provide for yourself and your loved ones through a period of incapacity or disability. 
  • Leave what you want to whom you want and the way you want at your death.
  • Minimize taxes and avoid unnecessary attorney fees and court expenses.
  • Share your dreams with your loved ones. 
  • Memorialize your legacy and support potential causes that you value the most. 

It is important to mention here that you can even opt for estate planning from inside a prison. Of course, you should opt for getting a bondsman on board if you are accused of a crime that you didn’t commit, as bail can buy you temporary freedom and enough time to settle your important matters. 

Nonetheless, you get the point – no matter where you are at, it is your responsibility to take care of your assets and ensure that everything falls into the right hands in case you die or fall ill to the point of being unable to make important decisions. 


What Documents Are Part of Estate Planning?

At a minimum, an estate planning includes the following:

  • A living trust 
  • A will or a pour-over will
  • A financial power of attorney
  • A medical directive

A living trust includes a set of instructions regarding how you would like your assets managed or distributed at your death. You can also decide on who and what kind of decisions will be made with regard to your finances, assets, and healthcare if you become incapacitated. 

The will contains your wishes regarding how your assets are disposed of at your death only. Medical directives state a person’s wishes regarding medical and end-of-life care. 

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