Everyone has an “estate” because everyone owns something of value. Everyone needs to plan what will happen to that “estate” after their lifetime. But more importantly, while we are living, we all face the possibility of suffering an injury or condition leaving us unable to make our own decisions. Whether it lasts one day or the rest of your life, making sure someone responsible will be there to make critical financial and medical decisions is essential. That may be more important to you than planning what happens after your lifetime.
“Making sure someone responsible will be there to make critical financial and medical decisions is essential”
Without planning, loss of capacity to make your own decisions usually results in an expensive, frustrating and demeaning guardianship appointment. That can almost always be avoided by putting someone of your choosing in charge without court involvement. You can do that by signing the right documents: Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians, Declaration of Guardian, Disposition of Remains and HIPAA Release. You can also avoid the need for involvement of a probate court after your lifetime with a Living Trust, often in combination with a Lady Bird Deed or Transfer on Death Deed.