Every couple has different levels of income and different portfolios of material assets. Those with lower levels may presume that they don’t really need to do estate planning, since they have less to distribute. However, it is important for couples and individuals at all levels to do estate planning long before they believe they need to.
A key starting point is simply talking with family members. A couple may want to speak with their adult sons and daughters and even their grandchildren about the future. In those conversations, understanding can be established about all kinds of future needs and expenses.
One thing that is good to include is future medical expenses. Although impossible to know exact amounts in advance, those expenses can be projected in a reasonable manner. When that’s done, they can be taken into account and saved for, accordingly.
With that done, the picture of how much money and other assets will remain becomes clearer. At that point, other needs can be assessed. For example, waning years of retirement or lesser earning capacity can be provided for. Additionally, a new house in a different location or moving to a retirement home and related costs can be determined. After that, the needs of descendants can be addressed and provided for in a will.
The will can also ensure that treasured possessions go where the couple wants them to. Instead of prize heirlooms going to random relatives, they can go directly to a favorite grandson or favorite grandaughter. With proper estate planning, everything will go exactly where the couple desires. For these and many other reasons, estate planning is something that each couple and individual should take care of with a qualified professional.
Source: Calaveras Enterprise, “Get motivated for estate planning” Bonnie Kuhn, May. 23, 2014