A lot of people feel that Estate Planning is mainly for the wealthy. Of course, the term “wealthy” can mean one thing to one person, and an entirely different thing to another.
The fact is, Estate Planning is by no means just for people with big assets, such as a million dollars. Let’s talk about assets for a minute…
Let’s say you’re debt free aside from your home’s mortgage. Let’s say you have just $30,000 total in all of your savings and checking and retirement accounts, and the value of the equity in your house is a modest $90,000. That’s $120,000 in assets.
You have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it for me to create a plan so I can leave some assets to the people I care about and make sure that my spouse is looked after if I should pass away before she does?”
The simple answer is, yes. In fact, a resounding yes.
However, without legal tools that are binding your assets may lose unnecessary value and some assets could be in peril. Meaning, your spouse and your intended heirs may not end up with what you wished them to have.
An Estate Plan does not have to be complex. It can be as simple as a Will and a Living Trust.
But even a simple Estate Plan needs to be created with the help of an attorney trained in Estate Planning because he or she can:
- Ensure that your assets are protected, and their values maximized
- Help you avoid Probate, meaning the settling of your estate in court
- Determine if you can qualify for Medicaid even if you think you don’t
- Help you to stay financially stable while you are alive
- Include in your Plan ways to reduce estate taxes
- Help you to customize how and when your heirs receive their inheritances
- Protect your assets from people who have no right to them
So, Estate Planning clearly is not just for those with big estates or a lot of wealth; it’s for anyone who wants to make sure that their loved ones are looked after, and that their assets don’t dwindle down.
But you will need guidance from an attorney trained in Estate Planning.