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Video: Who Needs an Estate Plan?

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Who needs an estate plan? You do. In Georgia, if you are over the age of 14, you have the right to do a will.

I’m Sarah Siedentopf, I’m an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. But really, who needs an estate plan? And age really is the first reason that you might need an estate plan, and it’s not because you’re 95, it’s because you are 18 or up. At the age of 18, your parents can no longer make those legal and financial decisions for you that they were able to make when you were a child. They can no longer automatically access your medical records. So you want to put some sort of planning in place at that time and not wait until you’re 45 or 95.

One thing that really trips people up is the term estate planning, because who needs an estate plan? Only people with gigantic estates. But really, estate planning is when you do more than a will. And it doesn’t mean you did a trust or something very difficult and hard to understand. It could just mean you did a will and a financial power of attorney and an advanced directive for healthcare, the documents that you need to protect you during your lifetime.

So really, an estate plan is more than doing just a will, but it is not the planning that you do if you are worried about tax planning or something like that, it can be. And we really need a better term to cover planning that cares for you, even if you’re not worried about estate taxes. Another reason that you might need an estate plan and think you don’t is if you have children. So many people come in and say, oh, we’ve recently started to make some money, we now have some assets, I think we need estate planning, and their children are four and six or ten and twelve until you have assets worth passing on to do an estate plan. If you have children, you need a will, and you don’t have to wait, you shouldn’t wait until you have assets worth passing on to do an estate plan. If you have children, you need a will, setting up a guardian for them.

You should do a designation of standby guardian so that there is someone who can take over if you are incapacitated, but have not passed away. So, if you are over the age of 18 and definitely, definitely, definitely if you have minor children, you should have an estate plan. So, who needs estate planning? Pretty much everyone, regardless of whether they have an estate. 

If you’ve got more questions about estate planning, please feel free to give me a call. I’d love to hear from you. And if this was helpful, please feel free to comment. Thank you.

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