Jan Cummins - Counselor at Law


Q: Why do I need an Estate Plan?


Even if you have no property to speak of, you need to have documents that give someone else the power to handle your finances and/or make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated mentally, even if it is temporary, as it might be in an auto accident. If you are over the age of 18, nobody, including your parents, has any legal right or power over your possessions or your physical welfare unless you grant it to them or a court awards it to them (after a lengthy and expensive court procedure). The single practical exception might be your spouse, but not always.

It is also a good idea to have at least a simple Will naming your executor and your beneficiaries. If you should die and leave no instructions about who is to take care of your affairs, the law has a solution, but it might not be the one you would choose. The courts would decide who to appoint as the executor of your estate, court expenses would apply, and the law would determine where any remaining property, if any were left after expenses, would go. Again, the possible court action would likely be more extensive and expensive than it would be if you leave a Will.

< Back to FAQs

- Send By E-Mail -Print FAQ