Not Many Assets? You Still Need an Estate Plan
Many people hold the misconception that they don’t need an estate plan if they have few or little assets. The farthest is from the truth. Estate plans are not just for the rich or wealthy, however you may want to define those terms. The recent COVID pandemic has caused many individuals, couples and family caretakers to evaluate their current financial and estate decisions. Every person over 18 should have a plan to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their future heritage.
Estate Plans are Not Just About Wills
One of the purposes of a will is to distribute your assets after your death. If you have few assets, you may still believe that an estate plan is not for you. But estate plans include several additional documents other than just a will.
For example, effective estate plans should include most of the following:
- Living trusts,
- Living wills,
- Powers of attorney,
- Health care directives
- Guardianship designations, and
- Minor children custody determinations.
Of course, some of these planning recommendations assist in distributing a person’s wealth, assets and possessions. However, they also perform several other critical tasks, like:
- Communicating what medical care you’d like to receive if you become incapacitated,
- Appointing someone to make decide health care and other non-financial decisions for a minor, and
- Directing a person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
Specific Benefits of an Estate Plan
If you still believe the importance of an estate plan is directly proportionate to the level of assets you have, let us try and unpack a few concrete benefits that a plan provides. Estate plans:
- Give you a say in who gets what. Without an estate plan, everything in your estate (including personal property, life insurance policies, and retirement plans) passes to the state you reside in. The state then figures out who gets what. A plan essentially lets you specifically say who gets your “stuff.”
- Help you avoid probate. Probate is a court-supervised proceeding that validates a will and oversees the distribution of your estate. The proceeding is lengthy, costly, and can produce much stress. An estate plan can help your family avoid probate.
- Communicate information regarding future medical conditions. As mentioned above, documents in an estate plan will say what medical care you may or may not want if you become incapacitated. They can also speak on issues regarding pain management and organ donations.
- Tell others of your particular wishes upon passing. The documents in an estate plan help inform family and friends about all of your specific wishes when you die. Yes, some of these wishes will relate to assets, but odds are they include so much more. For example, you can use your plan to say who gets certain pieces of personal property and tell others if you’d rather get buried or be cremated.
Contact The McWilliams Law Group for Help
- Will drafting, execution and review
- Living trusts
- Advance healthcare directives (living wills)
- Powers of attorney
- Estate and gift tax issues
- Guardianships and conservatorship
- Choosing the appropriate executor and/or trustee
The skilled attorneys at our firm can help thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship, and supporting philanthropic causes. Contact us now and let us help protect your personal security, family, and legacy.
Rainier Legal Center
31615 Third Ave.,
P.O. Box 100 Black Diamond , WA 98010, US
McWS Law PLLC
14205 SE 36th St.,
Suite 100 Bellevue , WA 98006, US
McWS Law Inc., A Professional Law Corporation
19200 Von Karman Ave.,
Suite 400 Irvine , CA 92612, US
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