Someone once said to me "I don't have an estate, so why do I need estate planning?" Fair question. This language can be a bit confusing.
Well, let’s define “estate” first.
I am NOT talking about your own sprawling mansion with lavishly cultivated grounds and your own personal butler and chauffeur (though there’s no reason we can’t dream, right? I mean, will you LOOK at that Biltmore Estate?!).
In fact, when we talk about estates in the context of estate planning, we don’t even NEED to include a house.
At its most basic, your estate is what you own. This includes real property (a house or land) and personal property (your belongings). There is no minimum amount of property to be considered an estate, though how much you have does influence what kinds of estate plans would be best for you. So even if you only have the clothes on your back and $5 in your pocket, you have an estate.
But when we talk about estate planning, we’re actually going to take it a step further than just your stuff.
Estate planning also refers to a few other crucial situations: (1) planning for your children (such as nominating a guardian for their care), (2) planning for your healthcare needs if you should become incapacitated and unable to make decisions, and (3) planning for your end-of-life care and even what happens after you have passed away (such as organ donation, burial preferences, etc.).
When you have a properly assembled and executed estate plan, you have accomplished two incredibly important things.
One, you have ensured that your own wishes determine what happens to you, your family, and your assets.
Two, you are giving an amazing gift to both yourself and your family: peace of mind.
In challenging situations, such as the incapacity or death of a loved one, making decisions can be hard. And if there is no plan in place, sometimes the court must get involved, leading to increased stress, delays, and expenses. Without a plan, someone else (maybe someone you don’t even know) gets to make the decisions.
But when you’ve planned ahead? Well, your estate planning documents take the guesswork out of it and make sure that your family can act promptly, easily, and with the reassurance that they’re following your wishes. And YOU can relax knowing that if the worst should happen, you’ve done everything you can to minimize their stress.
So even without the sprawling mansion (darn!), your estate and advance planning needs are important, for both your peace of mind and your family’s. And while it may seem overwhelming to tackle this, I’m here to walk you through every step. I’ll listen carefully to your situation, learn about what matters to YOU, and together we’ll talk through options. Your estate plan will reflect your own priorities and needs.
If you are ready to get started, schedule your free, 15-minute virtual consultation. Have a few lingering questions first? Shoot me an email. I can’t wait to hear from you!