I hear so many people say “I don’t need to do any estate planning because I’m not extremely wealthy.” What many do not realize is what estate planning really means, and why it is important for everyone.
Estate planning goes beyond planning for the distribution of assets at death. An important part of any estate planning consultation involves planning for incapacity: who will handle your finances if something happens to you and you are no longer able? who will make health care decisions, or decide where you should live, whether it’s at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home? what are your desires on these matters? what kind of medical care do you wish to receive at the end of your life? and how can we protect you from being taken advantage of – financially or otherwise – when you become less able to care for yourself or make responsible decisions?
I linked to an article the other day stating that by 2050, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. But these issues do not just affect the aging population – I have seen numerous scenarios where younger individuals suffered incapacity because of an accident or health crisis and would have been significantly better off if they had their estate planning documents in place. It is imperative that people engage in planning ahead of time to make sure their care will be provided for if necessary. “Estate planning” means planning for life, and everyone should do it.
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