Most people assume the phrase "estate planning" involves having wealth. That assumption couldn’t be any further from the truth. Estate planning simply means that you are preparing for the unexpected and inevitable. Death does not discriminate according to income level, age, or social status. Face the reality, death is certain for everyone.
- If you don’t care about the following, then we highly encourage you to NOT do estate planning:
- Being able to make the choice about where your “stuff“ goes after your death. Do you own a car? Do you have a wedding ring? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then you have an estate.
- Deciding for yourself who you would want to make your financial or health care decisions if you aren’t physically, mentally, or emotionally able to do so. Do you have the ability to telepath your wishes to a physician or banker if you are unconscious, mentally ill, or have severe dementia? Do you think your spouse or children are just automatically allowed to make those decisions? Think again.
- Choosing who you would want to care for your minor children, disabled adult child, or pets after you die. Do you really want a stranger in the probate court to make these decisions for you?
- Designating where you want your money to go if you need full-time healthcare from a family member, facility, or healthcare agency. If you are okay with your life savings going to a nursing home and the government obtaining the proceeds of the sale of your home after you die, then by all means, do not do any estate planning!
- Deciding which family members, charities, and loved ones get the money in your bank account after you die.
- Making the decision yourself about who will be your legal representative and decision-maker for your estate after you die.
- Having peace of mind knowing that you have your affairs in order in the event of an unforeseen death or disability.
A main reason for not doing proper estate planning is because many people think that they are allergic to lawyers, so they actually attempt “Do It Yourself” (DIY) estate planning without knowing the law in order to save money and avoid having to call a lawyer. You wouldn’t perform your own heart surgery, so why would you perform a task that requires many years of college and continuing education in order to effectively do the task? Yes, estate planning is an investment; it’s no different than buying insurance. But like the cost of not having insurance, the cost of not doing estate planning, or DIY planning, usually far outweighs the initial investment of getting your affairs in order. The messes our firm has to clean up because of improper planning, or not planning at all, far outweigh the cost of having your estate planning documents prepared by a lawyer who is a state-certified specialist in estate planning.