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Can those without large assets use an estate plan?

It is always wise to have an estate plan, even if you don't have a large estate. Just about everyone can benefit from an estate plan, not only to protect their property, but also to protect themselves and their loved ones in case of unexpected hardship.

An estate plan can be exceptionally useful for guarding against long-term illness or disability. It can allow you to determine ahead of time who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated, as well who will be responsible for things like raising your family, caring for pets, and ensuring that your finances are handled well if you can no longer make those choices.

An estate plan that employs the use of various kinds of trusts is also able to reduce the size of your personal estate so that you may continue to be eligible for ongoing government assistance benefits. In this way, an estate plan can be invaluable for those who may not think they have enough to warrant an estate plan — while they may not feel like wealthy people, they may have just enough assets and income to disqualify from ongoing assistance. Without access to government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, their care may be impossible, leaving them with very few options as they look to the future.

No matter who you are, there is a very high likelihood that you can use an estate plan to ensure your ongoing wellbeing and dignity. If you are ready to craft the perfect plan for your situation, it is wise to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney. Proper legal counsel can help you understand how your specific circumstances can be protected and enriched with proper planning.

Source: Findlaw, "Ten Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid," accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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