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Do I Need An Estate Plan If I’m Not Rich?

Despite its usefulness, many people assume estate planning is really only for those who are absurdly well-off. Creating an estate plan is actually beneficial in a wide variety of situations and its effectiveness does not depend on sizeable wealth. While a plan is most useful for those with a sizeable amount of assets to deal with, here are 3 reasons why even the average person might want to consider giving estate planning a go.
It’s About You, Too
One often overlooked part of estate planning is the direction and control it gives you over your health care wishes. This is a prime example of when an estate plan would be useful before you pass away. Health care proxies, living wills and durable power of attorneys are the most commonly used documents for tackling medical or financial issues that arise while you are alive but otherwise incapacitated. If you have very specific wishes regarding how you would want your health care or finances managed in the event you become unable to handle them yourself, make sure you consider the benefits and protection an estate plan offers.

Handling The Unexpected
Chances are that by the time the need for an estate plan arises, it will already be too late. The plan itself is designed for worst-case scenarios and these are things that few people truly expect. Any unforeseen tragedy or accident can become even more stressful for a grieving family when decisions are at the mercy of the court’s interpretation. The oftentimes flawed view of fairness the court uses to distribute assets can create drama and bitterness, something that no one desires from their loved ones. Estate planning is about planning ahead so you are prepared in the event of the unexpected. Even if your plan is already complete, unexpected events such as the death of your beneficiary can throw a wrench in your desires if you didn’t address the outcome of such events during the process.

Avoiding Or Minimizing Probate
In my experience, probate is the very worst part about the estate handling process after you or a loved one’s passing. Probate regularly lasts more than half a year and some can stretch on for multiple years with constant challenges and other issues. Not having a proper estate plan in place will practically guarantee you that your family will have to endure the probate process. It is long and often costly, with the resulting court fees capable of taking a large chunk out of your leftover wealth and assets. Another issue with probate is the lack of privacy and the sharks that it invites. Once in probate court, your information is readily accessible to everyone as it is public record, leaving every creditor to swarm and facilitate family members in challenging your will. If there was ever a reason named most important to plan for your estate, saving your beneficiaries the headache of probate court certainly would be it.

Estate planning is an important step to undertake, even if you or your family are not particularly wealthy. It offers protection for you, your children and beneficiaries so that things get done the way you’d prefer when you pass on or become incapacitated. Don’t underestimate its usefulness and the extent you can truly specify your desires. BD Financial Concepts can work with your estate planning attorney to help you implement an estate plan that is aligned with your true wishes and help your beneficiaries avoid a lengthy, costly mess in the event of your passing.

If you believe estate planning may be useful for you, contact a member of our team at BD Financial Concepts today.