In my former career selling life insurance and doing estate planning, I ran across a lot of young, mostly single folks, who recently graduated from college and were just entering the work force, i.e., they had a job. They had not accumulated much in the form of assets, but they did great in the debt area, viz., college loans and miscellaneous credit cards. Now was payback time.
It was difficult to talk to them about estate planning for the future because their main goal at that time was getting that new car. But in many of these situations, they would ask, “What is an Estate?” Well, you don’t have to be a Bill Gates, a member of the Kennedy family, a movie or TV actor, to have an estate.
In short, an estate is “all your property” or as one individual said, “all the stuff that you own.” You may be thinking, “I don’t own a home or any real estate so I don’t have an estate” Well… let’s think about that for a moment. Do you own or have:
- Checking or savings account
- Life Insurance
- IRA or 401(k) account
- Stocks, bonds, or a mutual fund
- Furniture… especially antiques
- Are you in your rich uncle’s will? (You wish! )
- Any jewelry?
The point is, regardless of the value of the above items, most people do have an estate. And that brings up the next question, “Why Do I Need To Plan My Estate?” Only you can decide what happens to your estate after you die or you can just leave it to chance. I’m sure that brother-in-law that you can’t stand would love to get hold of some of your “stuff.”
You need an estate plan if you wish to provide for loved ones whether that be a wife and children, parents , a charitable organization or perhaps your church. If you are starting a business or have an on-going business and wish for it to survive your death, then you need a plan.
And as your estate grows, you will want to minimize what your estate will pay in taxes. While estate planning involves more than inheritance and death taxes, death taxes are certainly a consideration of your overall planning of your estate. We assume you will want to pass as much of it as possible intact to your loved one. For 2015, the estate tax has gone from 0% to 55%. If you have a large estate, perhaps you should have dies in 2014. 🙂
Auctioneers are periodically asked to sell at auction property through a court order because there was no will or estate plan. The heirs were fighting over who should get what so the court said to sell it all via an auction.
Are you still asking, “Why do I need an estate plan?” Give us a call and let’s talk about it. Please keep in mind I am not a lawyer and I do not give out legal advice but I can steer you to those that can.