The word “estate” conjures up certain ideas in the popular imagination. The term has connotations of mansions with well-manicured lawns. Estates are where the very rich live secluded from the day-to-day world of ordinary people.
The Rockefellers and Carnegies of the world had estates. People of more ordinary means do not think that the term applies to them.
However, as Detroit Lakes Online points out in “Help your loved ones: Get ahead on estate planning,” almost everyone alive has an estate.
Estates are not just something the very wealthy have. The term refers to the totality of everything you own when you pass away. Even if you live alone in a small apartment, you have some possessions. Homeless people often own something, even if it is nothing more than the clothes they wear. In fact, very few people can claim not to own anything at all.
The fact that you have an estate, no matter how large or small, means estate planning is appropriate for you. Estate planning lets you determine who gets all of the possessions that make up your estate. It also lets you plan for who will handle things for you should you be unable to handle everything for yourself.
Even if you do not care who gets your possessions or who handles your affairs, you probably have people in your life who will care. If you do not make those plans, then they will have to clean up a potential mess and have a much more difficult time doing so.
Unfortunately, that mess likely will be cleaned up in court—unless you take steps now to plan around it.
Reference: Detroit Lakes Online (July 5, 2016) “Help your loved ones: Get ahead on estate planning”