Some truths about estate planning in this country challenge many commonly held beliefs, a primary one being that it should only be a top consideration for those with significant assets. In fact, in a recent article written by a certified public accountant, the importance of estate planning for those in Texas and across the country with less financial means is addressed.
The CPA says estate planning is arguably more important for those will less money because they often only have one person supporting the family and do not have “deep financial resources.” Other common misconceptions include the thought that existing estate plans should only be reviewed every three to five years, only the elderly should be concerned with estate planning, and that book or CD “do-it-yourself” versions are as effective as professional services.
More than 120 million Americans don’t have an up-to-date estate plan. An estate plan includes more than just a will. The current federal estate tax laws give every American a $5 million net asset exclusion, but this doesn’t mean that if one’s net worth is less than that amount, that estate planning can be ignored. For one thing, this law expires at the end of 2012 and it is unknown what any subsequent law will entail. In addition, a proper estate plan is needed to ensure that debts are paid and assets distributed per the wishes of the estate holder following his or her death.
Finally, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when preparing an estate plan. These include marital status, children or stepchildren, as well as current and expected future income and ownership of any assets.
Source: Coloradoan, “Estate planning is unique to individual, not just for wealthy,” Oct. 28, 2011