While you may think that only wealthy people with multimillion-dollar estates need to do estate planning, the term actually has a broader meaning. Your estate is a combination of all your belongings, including your liquid assets, home, vehicles, jewelry, investment portfolio, life insurance and even pets. No matter how much your estate is worth, it's important to have a plan in place for what will happen to it when you pass away.
Another common misconception about estate planning is that you don't have to start considering it until you are retired or an official senior citizen. However, in reality, you don't know exactly when you will pass away, so it's essential to start planning for your estate as soon as possible. If you have children or others who are financially dependent on you, it's vital to make sure they will be taken care of after your death.
Your estate planning should encompass more than just deciding who receives which assets after you die. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you with all the elements: funeral arrangements, life insurance, guardianship of children, disability insurance, living will instructions, medical care preferences, and taxes. The key to starting estate planning is when you begin accumulating valuables and caring about family.
With a clear estate plan, you can be sure your loved ones will be provided for and that your minor children will be raised by guardians you select. You can also ensure that your finances and medical decisions will be handled by someone you trust, rather than a court-appointed manager. Although estate planning does require an investment of time and resources, the benefits far outweigh the cost.