Who needs an estate plan? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this video.
I’m Sarah Siedentopf, I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. And this is a trick question because everybody needs an estate plan.
Okay. If you’re under the age of 14, you don’t need an estate plan. But everybody needs an estate plan. Particularly once we get the age of 18, everybody needs an estate plan. So an estate plan is just a written legal plan for what happens to your stuff, to you in a situation where you’re incapacitated. And so it can be as simple as a will, leaving things to, you know, your children, your friends, a charity.
So it can be as simple as a will, but it really ought to include, and this is I think what makes it an estate plan as opposed to just you need a will, it should also include planning for your incapacity. So that durable financial power of attorney, making sure that we’ve got someone chosen who is able to step in and take care of things legally and financially if you can’t and an advance directive for healthcare to make sure that we’ve got somebody who can make choices for you medically if you can’t. And so those are sort of the setups for the very basic plan.
You know, a will, a power of attorney, and advance directive for healthcare. And everybody needs a power of attorney and advance directive for healthcare, regardless of what they own. You want to know that you’re going to be taken care of, even if you’re renting and say, everything in my apartment is complete trash and I have practically no money in the bank, it’s still important to make sure that you have someone set up to take care of you in the event of an emergency.
Now, if you have more assets, is your estate plan going to get fancier and have more moving pieces? Of course. So, you know, there might be a trust. There might be multiple trusts. We might have deeds transferring property to and fro, we might have a gifting plan where we say, you know, every year we’re gonna gift, you know, these many people up to the federal estate, the gift tax minimum. So maybe we’re giving 15,000 away every year. But we have a plan for what’s happening. Obviously, if you have more assets, you’re probably more aware of the fact that you do need a plan. Also, that your plan will be more complicated. But in general, in Georgia, you have to be 14 years old to create a will.
So you can have a will at the age of 14 and anywhere on up. So I do encourage you to start thinking about that even if you say, you know what, I’m 23. This is something you should be thinking about. Additionally, with the power of attorney and advance directive for healthcare, those started at 18, at the age of 18 you’re legal adult. Nobody else is able to make those decisions for you, suddenly found that a lot of parents are interested in doing these documents for their children before they go away for college. They’ve realized that if we don’t have these things, we are not going to be able to talk to the college, even if we’re paying for it. We’re not going to be able to talk to the doctors because suddenly that communication that we’ve had for so long between schools, between doctors is cut off. So that is really an important thing to be considering.
If you have children who are, you know, rising, rising 18 year olds, or maybe recently above the age of 18, they might need an estate plan. Even if you look at it, and you say, well, you don’t have much stuff. We still need a plan for what’s going to happen. So, as I said, a trick question, everybody needs an estate plan, even if you don’t really own much, you’re important. Maybe you have children or pets. We need to plan ahead for these things. And so I would love to talk to you about your estate plan, what needs to be in it, how complicated your particular plan needs to be. But thank you for watching, and please Like and Subscribe.