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Is Estate Planning Only for the Wealthy or Elderly?

undefinedIt’s a common misconception that estate planning tools, such as wills or trusts, are only necessary when someone earns a large amount of money, or are nearing the end of their life. We couldn’t disagree more with this belief—in fact, estate planning documents are tools that can be utilized, and should be considered, by people of all stages of life, regardless of age or money.

What are the Benefits While Young?

Assign Assets to Family and Friends: In many ways, estate planning is a tool that every individual can utilize to honor their family and friends should an unforeseen event render them incapable of making their own decisions, or result in their passing.

Even if you don’t own a wealth of assets, you likely still own enough personal belongings that your family would like to see evenly distributed, or that you may wish to personally allot to certain people who will appreciate them most. This is especially true if your family is divided, and may not be capable of making these decisions respectfully. Estate Planning allows you to set a plan of action into place, removing the pressure from your family to hash out the details of what goes where and with whom; a process that can often lead to contention.

For example: in the event of an untimely death, who should be allowed to take your dog? Your car? Your class ring? Your family heirloom passed down from your grandpa? Even small items, such as a personal journal, can lead to contention between family members who wish to hold on to items that symbolize you. These are the questions that your family will have decide amongst themselves if you don’t plan ahead of time on their behalf.

In addition to this, if you own certain assets that you would like to see distributed to a close friend, you’ll need to create a will that states this exclusively. When determining how to distribute assets of someone who did not have a will in place, the law looks at closest blood relatives, not friends.

You Can Assign Guardianship: If you have a minor child, an estate plan is certainly something that should be considered as soon as they’re born, as it allows you to assign guardianship in the event of you passing away. If possible, don’t leave the decision of who should raise your child in the hands of the state. Rather, creating a will can allow you to assign not only one, but two guardians who you would nominate to take your child/children should you pass away unexpectedly. The process of creating a will for guardianship opens up conversation between you and your proposed guardian about whether they would be willing to step up, and if they would agree to parent your children in a manner that you would agree with.

The people who parent your children is not a matter that should be left to fate or the state. Estate planning allows you to take these matters into your own hand so that you can continue fighting for your child’s future and well-being, even if you pass away.

Simply put, estate planning is a process that can be utilized by every individual, regardless of age or money. In many ways, estate planning allows for a person to ensure that their own loved ones are considered appropriately and set up for success in the event of their death. Don’t postpone looking into these tools before it’s too late—call our office today to talk with an attorney about the essential estate planning documents, and how we can help you set up a foundation for your family’s future.