In the next series of blogs, I will be answering some questions as to why it is important for everyone to create an Estate Plan. Many people think of Estate Plans as something extra, or something you do when you have a lot of assets, but this is not the case. Everyone, no matter how large or small your estate is, can benefit from an Estate Plan. That being said, the first question you should ask when you consider creating an Estate Plan is: Are you going to die?
An unfortunate side effect of life is that everyone is going to die. No one can change that fact. What you can change, however, is how your assets will be handled after you die. This is more than just deciding who gets what of your things. It is planning how you want your affairs settled.
Estate planning consists of a legal document that assists and gives guidance during the settlement process. A typical definition of estate planning is to decide in advance the answer to the questions: to whom you want, when you want, and in a way that you want your estate to be settled.
No matter how large or small your estate is, planning needs to be done. You have to decide what should happen to your personal property, what you want to happen at your funeral, do you want to donate your organs, etc. When my 29-year old son Ryan was killed, perhaps the only estate planning he could have done was making arrangements for the funeral. That is one area of conflict a family may have.
Even if you don’t want to think about what to do after you die there are some decisions you may need before your death. Such a decision might be what doctors should do if you are in an unconscious state and cannot make medical decisions for yourself.
Regardless of your situation in life everyone should at least have some basic planning done, because no one knows when they are going to die.