Creating an estate plan is probably not something you think about on a regular basis, especially if you are young and still building your wealth, your family and your future. However, before you dismiss the option to create an estate plan or put the process off again, you might want to reconsider.
Below, we address some common reasons why people think they don’t need an estate plan and explain why it can still be wise to have one in place.
You don’t have any children. Planning for end-of-life care and distribution of your assets is certainly critical if you have children. However, you don’t need to have children to have people to protect. Your parents, siblings and other relatives can be affected by whether or not you have a will, advanced care directives and other estate planning documents in place.
You don’t have property. A common misconception is that a will is only necessary if you have a house, investments and money in bank or retirement accounts. However, your estate plan is about more than your finances. You don’t need property to have wishes for end-of-life care, for example. And if you have debt, you can use an estate plan to protect your heirs from having to deal with the difficulties of discovering and resolving debts.
You think it is best to leave decisions up to the courts. Yes, courts have the power to resolve any estate-related issue, but they won’t necessarily make the same decisions you might have made. With an estate plan, you can name an executor and beneficiaries; you can contribute to a specific charity; you can appoint a guardian. Without an estate plan for direction on these matters, courts will make decisions that may not align with your wishes.
Before you use these or other arguments to postpone estate planning, you may want to reconsider for the reasons we discussed above. And rather than put off planning because you feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the process, you can consult an attorney who can answer your questions and help you get started.