If you don’t have many assets, then one of your questions may be if you actually need to have an estate plan. The truth is that all people can benefit from an estate plan, because without a will, trust or other protections, your estate could end up going to the state or being distributed in a way you wouldn’t be happy with.
An estate plan helps you be certain that your assets will pass easily to your heirs and beneficiaries when you pass away. You may also include your own requirements for them to access those inheritances.
Is estate planning only for wealthy families or individuals?
Estate planning is not only for wealthy individuals or families. In fact, anyone can benefit from making sure that their finances are taken care of and that their assets are passed on as they wished after their passing.
Estate planning may help your family avoid probate or make sure that they have the ability to carry out your wishes while you’re still alive but incapacitated.
Estate plans aren’t just wills
Some people believe that estate plans are just wills or trusts, but the reality is that an estate plan should have beneficiary designations, a letter of intent, guardianship designations, health care power of attorney documents, a durable power of attorney appointment and other legal documents included as well.
An estate plan is about more than just passing on your assets, because it has the potential to protect you during life or when you’re incapacitated. It lets you discuss your wishes and make sure that they’ll always be carried out when possible.
Estate plans may also help you distribute life insurance, to provide for a pet through a pet trust or to make sure assets pass on without having to go through costly, time-intensive probate.
If you’re not sure about your estate plan and what you should include, there is help available. Know your legal options, so that you can make decisions that will protect you, your assets and those you love. A few simple documents could be the difference between creating or preventing conflicts at the end of your life or following your death.