Just recently, I helped a young client create an estate plan. When he first called, he told me, "I'm young and don't have too many assets, but I'd like to move forward with this anyway. My family and I just experienced a 'nightmare' when my grandparents passed away without an estate plan."
The young man didn't have a house or mortgage, and no large investment accounts. But through the course of the meeting, I discover he has a number of life insurance policies, bank accounts, owns an LLC, and a few other assets worth a good chunk of cash.
It made me realize, yet again, the major misconception about estate planning: that you need an elaborate and large estate to justify creating an estate plan. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Many people undervalue their belongings and do not realize that life insurance proceeds, small business ownership, bank accounts, or tangible personal property would warrant an estate plan. Each of these assets, if not properly handled, could require probate administration before passing to family or other beneficiaries. So while you may not believe you have an “estate” worth protecting, even a “modest” estate should be probated in most cases.
And trust me… "you don’t want to go there.” Probate is a huge hassle. It involves attorneys, courts, a judge, and is public in nature. It can take anywhere from 6 months to a few years and provides a platform for family conflict. Not to mention, probate can also be very costly. With proper planning, however, this "nightmare" can be avoided!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t have enough to justify planning for the future. If I can help you plan for the future, please contact me at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.