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Estate Planning is For Everyone

March 2, 2014

When many individuals hear the term ‘estate planning,’ their minds immediately go to the rich and powerful. To many, setting up an estate is just not something that the average person does.

The truth, though, is that estate planning is always a good idea, even if the only real asset you have is a rollover IRA worth a few thousand dollars. If, in that situation, you were to do no planning at all, the IRA would pass into your estate, and be subject to taxation. Obviously, you want to avoid undue taxation if at all possible, so important steps should be taken.

In general, anything that passes from you to your loved ones by means of a pay-on-death beneficiary designation will not be susceptible to probate. This can apply to bank accounts as well, of course. It is even possible to list your children on title to your home, although that is generally a bad idea, as they will be added while you are alive, and if you ever wanted the will back solely in your name, they might not cooperate.

In addition to the basic steps listed above, no estate plan is ever complete without an advance health care directive and a durable general power of attorney. Without those documents, your loved ones will be unable to make any medical or legal decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated.

As you may see, estate planning is a very complex endeavor without experienced and dedicated help. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your estate, or a loved one’s.