As Michigan readers know, estate planning is a beneficial step for every person, no matter the size or value of his or her estate. However, many people fail to take this step because they believe they are too young or not wealthy enough to justify this effort. No matter your age, income, assets or health, there are certain things you can accomplish with a thoughtful and carefully drafted estate plan.

The basic goal of any estate plan is to decide what will happen to a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death. However, there are many other things you can do through your estate plan, from planning for the care of your pets to deciding what type of health care you may want. If you do not have a plan, it is beneficial to learn more about why you should take this step.

What is in your estate plan?

Every estate plan is different because everyone has different goals and objectives for their money, assets and other things. What you do with your estate plan depends specifically on your goals and plans for the future. In your plan, you will be able to address the following:

  • Any real estate you own
  • Your bank accounts, including long-term savings
  • Insurance policies you have
  • Stocks, bonds and retirement accounts
  • Important personal property, such as jewelry and family heirlooms

One of the biggest mistakes people make with estate planning is that they fail to update existing plans after major life changes or fail to have a plan in the first place. Estate planning can make things significantly easier for your loved ones in case of your unexpected death. It can also minimize taxes, allow you to control your health care in the event of incapacitation and much more. The benefits are significant and the effort is worthwhile.

Where should you start?

One of the most important steps you can take in the estate planning process is to seek help regarding your specific needs. You may be unsure of what you need to begin or how you can draft a strong estate plan, but you certainly do not have to do it alone.

Start with a complete evaluation of your finances, property and estate, which will help you understand the specific tools you need in your plan to secure your interests. It is your money and your body, and you have the right to decide what happens to them in case of your death or inability to speak for yourself.