Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy, every adult needs some level of estate planning regardless of their age or how many assets they have. In fact, if you don’t create your own estate plan, then you are on the default plan that your state has in place for you (and you probably won’t like it). The default plan involves court, either through a guardianship proceeding or probate.
The Default Plan - Guardianship
A guardianship occurs if you lose capacity to make your own decisions and you don’t have an estate plan already in place. If you are in this unfortunate situation, then a judge must choose your decision-maker, or Guardian, in court. This can be a messy process where family disputes can unfold in the public eye and legal fees can reach the thousands even in simple situations. Start your estate plan today for free
The Default Plan – Guardianship for Children
A judge must choose someone to take care of your children if you don’t indicate your desires ahead of time in your estate plan. Like a guardianship for an adult, this can be a messy process if there are more than one individual vying to become your children’s guardian. Create a free nomination of guardian
The Default Plan – Probate
Probate occurs when someone dies with over $100,00 assets or owning real estate. The dollar amount required for probate varies widely from State to State but will fall somewhere between $15,000 and $150,000. Probate is a process in which a judge oversees the transfer of the deceased’s assets to the deceased’s heirs. It sounds simple, but it is a complex, costly and public process. Unlike a living trust, a will does not avoid probate. However, with a will, you can direct how your assets are divided and at what age children should have access to their inheritance rather than leaving it up to State law. Create your living trust in minutes
It’s clear that setting up your own estate plan now is easier, safer and more economical than letting a judge do it for you. There really is no reason to wait to set up your estate plan and if your situation changes, you can always update it. Many things may not require an update though. For example, opening new bank accounts, buying real estate and even having more children normally will not require an update to your estate plan. If you’re ever unsure, just ask, we’re here to help.