Why Do I Need to Estate Plan?


If you’re like a lot of people, you may assume that only rich elderly people need estate plans. You may also assume that you’re too young or “too poor” to require one. Neither assumption is correct, however.

There are many valid reasons why you need to engage in estate planning, regardless of your age or perceived wealth. Here are just a few.

Dying Intestate

If you die without having made your last will and testament, your state steps in to determine who receives what proportion of your estate. Called the laws of intestacy, these distribution formulas may well have nothing to do with what you want. In other words, you don’t have any control over who inherits what from you unless you make those wishes known in your will. Consequently, you need a will if nothing else in your estate plan.

Keep in mind that your will not only distributes your assets per your wishes, it can also name the person or persons you want to finish raising your minor child(ren) if you should die before he, she or they reach the age of majority.

Making Your Healthcare Wishes Known

You may also have definite ideas about the types of medical interventions, treatments and therapies you want – and don’t want – if you sustain injuries or become seriously ill. While you may have discussed your preferences with your spouse or other family member, these oral instructions may be forgotten or overlooked in the shock and emotional upheaval your illness or injuries cause your family. In addition, the doctor and hospital have no idea of which preferences you have.

This is where your living will, sometimes called an advance directive, becomes crucial. This estate planning document, in which you state your healthcare wishes and the person you want to carry them out if you’re too ill or injured to make healthcare decisions yourself, is legally binding on not only him or her, but also on all the members of your healthcare team. In addition, it stops the family bickering that almost always arises as to which treatments they think you should undergo.

Providing For Specific People

Another important reason why you need to estate plan is if you have a special needs child. Including a special needs trust for his or her benefit as part of your estate plan can ensure that he or she will always have the care he or she needs, plus provide the funds to accomplish it.

Obtaining Legal Advice

Your estate planning lawyer in Rochelle Park, NJ, like from the Law Offices of Joshua Kaplan, P.L., can help you determine which documents you need in your estate plan to accomplish your various goals and objectives. He or she can also draft them for you, making sure that they adhere to any applicable state laws.