Many people think of wills and trusts as something that only wealthy people need to worry about. That is not true. Estate planning is important regardless of how much money you have or how old you are. Estate planning may be more complicated if you are wealthy, but it is no less essential if you are not. You should start thinking about an estate plan if any of the following situations apply to you.
You Have Strong Feelings About End-of-Life Care
While most of your estate plan pertains to issues that arise after you die, some parts can take effect while you are still alive but rendered incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions. For example, a living will describes the health care treatments you do or do not want to receive at the end of your life. It is helpful for people who do not want to exist indefinitely on life support with basically no hope of recovery or people with a chronic condition who want to let nature take its course.
You Own Property
You may not own a lot of land or a home, but presumably, you have some possessions. Perhaps you have some significant assets, such as a car. You likewise may have cash or received a personal injury settlement that you’ll want to allot to someone, as the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen can explain. If you make out a will as part of an estate plan, you can specify where your property should go after you die.
You Have Minor Children
If you are married and have kids under 18, you have a responsibility to make a plan for them in case you and your spouse die at the same time. At the very least, you should make out a will in which you name a guardian for them. It may also be a good idea to put some funds in trust. The interest can go towards the children’s support until they come of age, and then they can receive the principle as an inheritance once they reach a certain age. This is just an example arrangement; you can decide what would work best for your family and your situation.
You Have Pets
You have a responsibility to care for your pets, and that means making arrangements to continue their care after you die. Pets are legally considered property, so if you know of someone who can care for them in the event of your death, you can will your pets to that person. You may also set up a small trust benefitting the pet’s new caretaker to help offset the costs of food, toys, veterinary care, etc.
Even with simplified probate processes for people with few assets, some estate planning is necessary. An attorney can help create an estate plan appropriate to your situation.
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