Most people who undertake the process of planning their estates are motivated by a desire to pass on assets according to their own present inclinations. But estate planning is not only about what happens to our assets when we pass away; effective planning follows us through our lives from stage to stage, depending on our specific needs at the time.
Young parents may need to set up a guardianship to ensure their minor children are cared for in the event something should happen. Married couples close to retirement may want to assure each other the quality of life to which they are accustomed. Retired couples may need to protect a lifetime of hard-won assets to pass on to the next generation.
The bottom line is that planning is for everyone, whether an estate is worth $1,000 or $1 million. When people do not plan for medical emergencies, family members may have to make important health decisions during that emergency without the prior guidance of the sick family members. The same is true for financial decisions: the most effective planning is accomplished during good health.