Most grown adults still don’t have an estate plan — not even a standalone will — and there are plenty of reasons for that: fear, procrastination, misperception, and more.
One of the most commonly cited justifications for proceeding without a plan, though, is this old chestnut: “wills and trusts are only for rich people.” It simply isn’t so!
NerdWallet, one of the web’s fastest-growing outlets for financial news and opinion, recently set out to dispel that irksome myth with a few good reasons for estate planning regardless of your income level:
- No family deserves a mess. If you die without an estate plan, your family is going to have quite an ordeal in front of them. Even if you didn’t have many assets to speak of, the law is going to require that your estate be formally accounted for and lawfully distributed. That usually involves a process called probate, which is time-consuming, expensive, and potentially embarrassing. It often results in the wrong people getting their hands on your stuff, however meager that “stuff” may be.
- You do have assets. We’re willing to bet you own something, right? The reality is that everyone has an estate of some value, even those who don’t consider themselves wealthy. If you own a house, a car, a DVD collection, household electronics, photo albums, keepsakes, souvenirs — these things mean something to someone, regardless of how much financial worth they may or may not have. We have found that once you get organized and look at what you do have, it will often surprise you.
- No one can predict the future. Even Nostradamus had a spotty record. Bad things can happen unexpectedly, and economic status doesn’t exempt any of us from that. If you should pass away without warning, your family will be left reeling, with a lot of hard choices in front of them. Proper estate planning allows you to protect them in advance.
And those are only the financial considerations! Healthcare directives, guardianships for your children, and powers of attorney all matter too. No matter how much you make, someone will have to make decisions for you and your family should you ever lose your capacity to do so. An estate plan can take care of all that.
At Bennett Watson Trust, Estate & Elder Law, LLC, we work with clients at every single step on the financial ladder, top to bottom. In the long run, planning always costs less than not planning. Let us help you get started. Call us today.