If you are like many residents of New Jersey and elsewhere, you might assume that estate planning is only for the rich. However, there are many reasons to plan a will, regardless of how much of a nest egg you have saved up and how many--or few--assets you have to your name.
According to MarketWatch, a surprising number of Americans haven't planned their wills--about 70 percent, to be exact. You may have just reached adulthood and you are not even thinking about an inheritance for your future children; you could figure your children get along well enough to divide their inheritance on their own; or you may simply not have much of an inheritance to pass on. However, consider the following reasons why everyone needs to complete their estate planning, at any stage of life:
- If you and your spouse die before your children are grown, you will most likely want to designate someone as their guardian, rather than trust the probate court to make the choice for you.
- You may not have significant assets, but you can't predict that an argument over a meager inheritance will never happen.
- You may become incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions, but you can address this by planning ahead.
As you know, a major life event or unexpected incident can change your life and family dynamics, for better or for worse. You may be able to address these eventualities and prevent your family members from enduring a painful probate dispute by having a will or trust in place. Estate planning is especially important if you have minor children or if you had a recent significant change in your circumstances, such as getting married or divorced or receiving a large inheritance.