Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning, www.bradfordholliman.com
Just this week I heard a woman say she did not need to do any estate planning because she does not have an estate. I hear that a lot. She may not have a multi-million-dollar estate, but if she owns anything, she has an estate.
People often think only the rich have “estates” – you know, an estate made up of vast amounts of land, expensive homes, vacation homes, fancy cars, jewelry, boats, stock portfolios, and more. The people who own these assets certainly do have estates, but an estate means more than “assets owned by the rich.” Today, an estate means everything a person owns, and it includes your home, bank accounts, IRAs, car, golf clubs, jewelry, china, quilts, sofa, lawn mower, fishing rods, and even your toothbrush. If you want certain people to have your things when you pass away . . . or perhaps more importantly, certain people to not get your things when you die, you need an estate plan.
An estate planning attorney can help you determine the best type of plan to achieve your goals. For example, if you prefer to keep things simple, and you do not mind that the probate court process is public record, a Last Will and Testament may be the best choice for you. If you prefer more privacy and are adamant that you do not want your estate to go through the probate court process when you die, the attorney may recommend using a trust to transfer your assets at death.
Remember, the amount of possessions does not determine if you should have an estate plan. Everyone should have an estate plan. Talk to an estate planning attorney and ensure your wishes will be carried out at your death and make the transition of assets from one generation to the next as smooth as possible.
-Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.