Estate Plans Are for Everyone (Not Just the Extremely Wealthy)

A variety of myths linger about estate planning. One of the most enduring of these myths is that estate planning is only for the wealthy. In reality, however, estate plans perform countless functions and all adults need them. Estate planning is not simply something that a person needs when they pass away to manage their property. Estate planning does this important task but also performs other valuable functions like planning for your potential incapacity. As people age, the chances that they will need help from someone else later on in life rise substantially. Furthermore, mishaps and tragic illnesses can also occur despite a person’s age. This article reviews some critical reasons why most people, regardless of age, need some type of estate plan.

Healthcare Decisions

All adults can benefit from creating a healthcare directive that addresses who will make healthcare decisions for the individual if they are incapacitated or otherwise not able to do so. A healthcare directive establishes a person’s choices regarding, and other issues like pain medication, organ donation, and other issues that must be decided if a person is incapacitated and cannot care for himself or herself. The person who is appointed as a healthcare agent will also be tasked with making difficult end-of-life decisions involving cremation and burial.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable power of attorney is either immediately effective or comes into effect following a person’s incapacity. These documents appoint a person who will act on your behalf regarding both financial and personal matters. It is also possible to name a first designee if you are not able to act. Power of attorney describes the powers that are granted to your agent. These powers might include the authority to pay your bills, enter into contracts, donate to charities, and various other aspects involved with estate management.

Living Trust

If you have adequate funds and have certain beneficiaries like minors or special needs beneficiaries, you should consider creating a living trust. While you might need the initial wealth of “$166,250” to create a living trust, there are multiple reasons why people end up utilizing trusts in their estate plans. Trusts can avoid the probate process, which can be costly and time-consuming. Trusts can avoid disqualifying a loved one with special needs from government benefits. Trusts can also be the most effective way to pass assets to children if they are under the age of 18 when you pass away. Another reason people establish trusts is so assets can be dispersed to beneficiaries who would unwisely spend the assets if they were directly passed on to them. 

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Remember, estate planning is for anyone who wants to create a plan that protects themselves and those they love. If you or your loved ones need the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

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