Who Needs An Estate Plan?

November 5, 2010

When you are busy living your life you may not think too much about your estate and how you would like your assets distributed. If it does cross your mind, you may recognize the fact that you do need to engage in estate planning at some point in time, but feel as though it is too soon to concern yourself with it. That is a mistake. As soon as you are a self supporting adult you should have a basic estate plan in place, and if you have children it is all the more important.
One misconception that many people have is that they don't need to engage in estate planning because they either don't have significant assets, or because they intend to simply leave everything to their spouse. In either instance you still need an estate plan because there is more to estate planning than the transference of assets. If you have dependent children, there is the matter of guardianship. If you and your spouse where to pass away together in an accident, who would take care of the children? You need to state your wishes in that regard in your will.
Incapacity planning through the execution of an advance health care directive is another matter that needs to be addressed that has nothing to do with the distribution of your assets. If you were to become unable to do so, who would you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf? What medical procedures would you like to allow, and which would you prefer to deny in the event of your incapacity? These are questions you can answer by executing a durable medical power of attorney and a living will.
The message here is that everyone, regardless of age or financial situation, needs to have an estate plan in place because even though you will be gone, your loved ones who remain need to know your wishes.

Wealth Counsel
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