Even Without Assets, You Need an Estate Plan

3 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan

People often avoid estate planning because they associate it with a topic they’d rather not think about — death. But you shouldn’t think of estate planning as a morbid task. It should be considered getting your family aligned on what is important to you.

When the inevitable does happen, your family knows what to do and what your wishes were instead of getting into fights and wondering.

 So, if you’re asking yourself, “I don’t have a lot of assets, do I need an estate plan?” the answer is YES. Here’s why:

1. Specify End-of-Life Care and Power of Attorney

Everyone over the age of 18 should designate a medical and financial power of attorney, and have a living will. As an estate planner, I see many families fight over control over financial and medical decisions. Those fights can get mean and tear families apart.

Power of attorney documents allow you to designate individuals who will make health care and financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself due to serious injury, coma, dementia or other events. Your estate plan also allows you to specify the treatment you would or would not want.

2. Distribute Assets With Minimal Hassle

You don’t have to have a large estate to need a will or trust. Even if you only have a few assets, you need to have a will and keep the information up to date, such as your 401(k) beneficiaries. If you have nothing in place, Pennsylvania has a will waiting for you and says who will receive your money.

Without estate planning trusts or wills in place, fighting among family members can erupt over who gets what. Proper planning can also help ensure the money you leave to loved ones is managed well, and that most of it actually goes to them rather than toward attorney and court fees.

3. Designate Who Cares for Your Children

Not only will the state court system decide who gets your assets if you die without a will, it can also determine who will raise your children. Do you want strangers to decide who will take care of your children?

You can name a guardian for your children in a will and set up a trust so your assets will be used to benefit them, not the lifestyle of the guardian. Sallen Law, LLC recommends talking with the person you want to name as guardian to make sure they’re willing to handle the responsibility and to discuss how you want your children raised.

To discuss trustee selection and any of your estate planning needs, click here to contact our office. Sallen Law, LLC proudly serves Philadelphia, the Main Line, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County and Bucks County as well as southern New Jersey