For most Americans, estate planning is for those who have millions in the bank. In reality, however, estate planning is really for everyone who has assets to their name, because regardless of how many assets you have, you will inevitably leave this earth sooner or later.
What is your “estate”?
The first step to estate planning is to understand that everything you own, yes, even your online accounts, is part of your estate. This includes all assets under your name, including those you co-own with others like bank accounts, businesses, real estate, bonds and stocks, retirement funds, and life insurance.
Your estate likewise includes personal property that might or might not have monetary value, but have significant sentimental value.
Includes people under your care
It is also crucial to note that your estate also includes living things, such as your parents (if they depend on you), children, even your beloved pets, says a top estate planning and asset protection lawyer. Parents pass away every single day, potentially leaving behind small children alone and uncared for.
That said, unless your kids are over 18 years old and can take care of themselves, if something happens to you, they will need someone to care for them and champion their best interests.
You will have the last word
Agreat estate plan is one that would safeguard all your assets, including your children. You could also consider an advanced care directive to ensure that you will have the last word regarding healthcare issues if you become incapable of speaking for yourself.
Also, note that if you pass away and fail to have an estate plan, including a valid will, your state will consider your intestate and will get to decide who gets what of your estate based on the inheritance laws in your state.
Other crucial things to ponder on
Estate planning involves plenty of moving pieces so if you have a sizeable estate, it is best that you get professional advice. Make certain that you get a lawyer in your area since laws differ from state to state. You might end up leaving an invalid will or a will that will not do the particular things you specified.