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Estate Planning is Not Just For the Wealthy

By:  Tracey Holcombe

To me, there is no clear benchmark for the word “wealthy”.  It means something different to almost anyone you ask.  To me, wealth is about much more than money. True wealth is measured by how much freedom that money buys and how much fulfillment you have in your life.  What I’m saying is, if you are reading this right now, estate planning is something that you must be doing.

Now that we have covered the definition of wealthy and that it includes all of you.  My definition of an estate plan is essentially a preparation to deal with choices you want made if you become unable to make decisions for yourself or pass away. 

Over the years, estate planning, tax planning, and employer benefits are a few of the aspects of your financial plan that give me the most “wealth” or fulfillment. We continue to emphasize that our greatest role as your advisors are to keep you from making key mistakes.  Not having an estate plan makes your choices or intentions much more difficult for your family and loved ones in a time that is already stressful enough. 

Here are a few reasons why estate plans are not a priority and points for you to consider:

  1. It’s Too Difficult

Creating your estate plan doesn’t have to be difficult.  As your advisor, part of our plan is to keep account of all of the things that are included in your financial life.  Many of those things we don’t manage but we still need to know the specifics to do the best job in planning your financial future.  This information can be used when meeting with your legal advisor.

  1. I Don’t Have Time

It’s worth taking the time to set an appointment with your legal advisor.  With the overview listed above, they can very quickly tell you what is needed and likely what it would cost.  Cost usually depends on the items you need or desire for your estate plan. 

  1. It Won’t Happen to Me

Throughout my career, I have sat across the desk from many widows/widowers who were still working who didn’t leave a will or had a plan in place that was no longer valid.  We spent countless hours working through the details with their legal adviser and sometimes tax adviser.  Yes, tax adviser.  Sometimes when there is no estate plan in place, it could cause unnecessary or higher taxes. 

In conclusion, I can’t stress the importance of having a plan in place no matter your age.  If you have questions or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to give us a call.