Some people think that estate plans are for someone else, not them. A common misconception is that estate planning is only important for the wealthy or elderly. They may rationalise that they are too young or don’t have enough money to reap the benefits of a plan. But here are some more reasons why estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or net worth.
- Loss of capacity. What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Legal, medical and lifestyle decisions will need to be made for you, but without a plan the courts will have to select the person to manage your affairs. With an integrated estate plan in place, you choose that person, through a careful combination of powers of attorney and advanced directives.
- Minor children. Who will raise your children if you die? Although a court will make the final determination, you are able to nominate the guardian of your choice in your Will, and the court will give very serious consideration to your wishes.
- Dying without a Will (intestate). Who will inherit your assets? Without a plan, your assets pass to your heirs according to your state’s laws of intestacy (dying without a will). Your family members (and perhaps not the ones you would choose) will receive your assets without benefit of your direction or of trust protection. With an integrated estate plan, you decide who gets your assets, and when and how they receive them.