We’ve continually put forth the importance of estate planning while you’re young. Although couples are waiting much longer to marry than they once did, they’re still cohabiting for a long time before they finally tie the knot — and that means that who owns what can get very confusing very fast. That’s just one reason to start the estate planning process if you’re a couple in your 30s. And the new year is the perfect time to get the ball rolling.
Palm Harbor, Florida estate lawyer Sherri Stinson says that “rich people can afford to make mistakes with their estate plan. Everyone else can’t.”
It’s a funny thing to consider since most people are still under the illusion that only the rich need estate planning. The truth is a lot simpler. Those living in poverty or those with cush middle-class homes need it even more. And they need to be even more careful when putting that plan into action.
Part of the reason is based on the family’s financial situation. The probate court process can be quite divisive for families. There could be lots of fighting over who should get which assets. But probate court also costs a lot of money. There are fees. Plus, everything is held up in court a lot longer than it would have been if you had planned ahead of time, allowing your family to bypass the process.
Probate accomplishes a few things for those who didn’t make an estate plan before death. Those things include ensuring that a person’s will is valid (if they left one), identifying assets, appraising those assets, using those assets to first pay off loans, debts, and remaining taxes, and finally distributing the remainder to beneficiaries. But the court ultimately decides who those beneficiaries are and what they should receive.
Estate doesn’t mean you own a mansion. Most of us have a home, a few savings left over, and a vehicle or two. That amounts to a decent chunk of cash.
Although people are waiting longer to marry, they still begin having kids by their 30s. The average age women have their first child, according to the National Center for Health Statistics is 26. That’s why your 30s is the time when you begin to amass wealth. You need to know what will be done with it if something should happen to you. Are there accounts set up for your children? Would you like to set up a college fund?
Sherri said, “Creating an estate plan is deciding now what will come later. No matter what, the unexpected happens in life. An estate plan helps you anticipate the needs of your family after you’re gone and allows you to make decisions on what you want to happen should you be incapacitated. This means you are the one making the decision — not the courts or another family member.”