It’s common for people to put off estate planning and living wills because they think they don’t have enough assets, they’re too young, too busy, or don’t know where to start. When it comes to estate planning, an “estate” doesn’t strictly mean a large home on a sprawling plot of land. Read on to learn why estate planning isn't just for the wealth and retired.
Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Wealthy
Your “estate” is a collection of everything you own, from your car, real estate, furniture, and personal possessions, to your checking and savings accounts, investments, and life insurance. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. In fact, it’s extremely important for those with modest assets, because they can’t afford to lose the limited assets they have.
Estate planning also ensures your wishes are carried out if you’re unable to make healthcare decisions or manage your assets due to a disability.
Estate Planning Isn’t Just for Retirees
Estate planning isn’t just for “baby boomers” or retirees. Unfortunately, we can’t predict how long we’ll live, and accidents and illness can happen to people at any age. Without estate planning, many families are left behind to pick up the pieces. That’s why it’s important to have an estate plan to ensure your requests are carried out. You’ll also want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, court costs, and time, so as not to burden your loved ones.
Estate Planning Protects You During Disability
As we mentioned above, estate planning not only helps protect your assets, it also helps to protect your healthcare and financial choices should any serious disability arise. When it comes to estate planning, “disability” means that you are physically or mentally unable to take care of yourself or make your own decisions regarding your medical care or finances. Even if you trust your family or close friends to take excellent care of you and your assets, without an estate plan set up, they often need to go to court to request a Conservatorship, which takes time and money when urgent decisions regarding your well-being or your family’s well-being may be hanging in the balance.
During your estate planning, you’ll want to set up an Advance Health Care Directive (aka a “living will”). Should you become disabled, the Advance Health Care Directive would allow someone you appointed and trust to make medical and personal care decisions on your behalf.
You’ll also want to set up a Durable Power of Attorney in your estate plan, which gives someone you trust the power to handle your financial affairs, including paying bills.
Estate Planning for Death
No one likes to think about death, but it’s an inevitable part of life and you want to make sure your wishes are carried out the way you intended after you pass away. One important part of estate planning is setting up a revocable trust, also known as a “living trust”. If you transfer your assets into a revocable trust, you can name the beneficiaries who will receive them at your death, and you can also name who shouldn’t receive anything. While you’re alive, you are the “grantor” of the trust and control taking things out and putting things in as you please. Assets in a living trust will typically pass to heirs sooner than they would with just a will or no estate plans at all, and can save time, legal fees, and taxes.
The Importance of a Will
The final key piece of estate planning is your Will. Even if you have a revocable trust, a will is still recommended because most trusts deal only with specific assets such as life insurance or a piece of property, but not the sum total of your holdings. A will is especially important for people with young children, as wills are the best way to transfer guardianship of minors.
Estate Planning Isn’t a One-Time Thing
You may have created an estate plan in the past, signed the documents, and never looked back. However, your circumstances may have changed since then, and will likely change in the future. Maybe you got married or divorced since your last estate plan, maybe you had a child, maybe you retired, or maybe your beneficiary passed away. You should update your estate plan every time a major life change happens to ensure your objectives are carried out.
Estate Planning Seminar in San Diego
If you’re interested in learning more about estate planning, advanced health care directives, trusts and wills in San Diego, please join us for a fun and educational seminar on Wednesday, April 25th from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Ascent Real Estate, Inc.'s Conference Center in Mission Hills, San Diego. The seminar is FREE and includes light bites and beverages as you learn from Mary J. Naimish, CFLS, an outstanding Trusts & Estates Attorney and the founding partner of Naimish & Lewis, APC; plus top REALTOR® Team Fredricksen & Kellee. Please RSVP to Mary Beth at (858) 442-8002 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org