If I Don't Have an Estate, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?

A dear friend recently joked with me, "can you also make me an estate as a part of my estate plan?" While I initially laughed along with her, looking back at the moment I realized that many of us incorrectly think that our "estates" are not worthy of the estate planning process. In reality, if you have any possessions, and/or loved ones, you actually do have an estate. Perhaps instead of estate planning we should rename our services "how-to-take-care-of-your-loved-ones-and-what-to-do-with-your-stuff-and-who-should-take-care-of-you-and-your-things-if-you-are-unable-to-care-for-yourself planning" - it is a much more accurate, and perhaps less intimidating, description of what we create with our clients.

You don’t need to live in the Biltmore House, have a vacation home, or have a private art collection big enough to rival MOMA to consider yourself the owner of an estate. In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law. The term may conjure up images of mansions and flashy cars, but for the purposes of estate planning law, the term “estate” covers a whole lot more. 


What counts as an estate?

Ordinary possessions like bank accounts, homes, jewelry collections, cars, furniture — basically anything you can own — are also under the purview of your estate, meaning estate planning is something that profoundlyimpacts virtually everyone, not just the 1%.  

So even if you wouldn’t ordinarily consider yourself the owner of an estate, it’s quite likely that you are. The answer to the question “I don’t have an estate. Do I really need an estate plan?” is, “yes, anyone with possessions could benefit from estate planning.” 


Estate planning covers more than just property, too: 

It’s also about ensuring that someone you trust can make critical medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so, manage your financial assets if you cannot do so, have legal access to your digital assets, and make sure that you have a say in who might take care of any minor children that you leave behind. 


4 key advantages of estate planning

Estate planning may seem overwhelming.  But you don’t have to go it alone. We work together with our clients to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your exact needs. Here are some core tenets of what’s involved in estate planning and how you stand to benefit from the process: 

  1. It allows you to remain in complete control of your property while you’re still alive and well.
  2. It helps you provide for yourself and your loved ones if you become incapacitated or disabled - withoutexpensive and distracting court hearings.
  3. It minimizes the impact of professional fees, court costs, and taxes.
  4. It provides a framework so you can give what you have to whom you want, the way you want,when you want.


Are you ready to sit down and see how you can ensure a better future for yourself and your family? Give us a call today to find out how we can keep your health and wealth in the right hands for good.