Are you married? Do you have children? Do you own a house? Do you have a 401(k) at work or otherwise own stocks? Or do you own a business? Or do you simply want to have control of your fate should you be incapacitated by injury or illness?
If you can answer “yes” to any of those questions, you should sit down with an estate planning attorney and create an estate plan.
You’ll notice that the above questions didn’t include this one: do you have millions of dollars in cash or other assets? While people who do have significant assets should obviously have estate plans, they aren’t the only ones.
All parents, whether they have a modest St. George home or a sprawling mansion, should have an estate plan that helps provide for their children in the event of the death of one or both parents. Some mothers and fathers create trusts for their children that shelter their loved ones from taxes.
Trusts also allow you to create conditions on how assets are distributed after you pass on and also allow you to help your heirs avoid the probate process that accompanies a will.
Parents are also often homeowners and want to leave the family real estate to a child (or children). That could be taken care of with a will included in your estate plan.
Everyone – whether a parent or homeowner or not – should deal with the question of what kind of care (or absence of life-prolonging care) they want in the event of an incapacitating event. In that way, your religious beliefs and personal wishes can be observed and honored, even though you are at that moment incapable of expressing them out loud.
Clearly, the need for estate planning stretches across the spectrum. A conversation with an experienced estate planning attorney gets this needed process started.