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Who Needs Estate Planning?

This chart comes from the College for Financial Planning and provides a quick reference guide for those wondering if they need estate planning.

Ultimately everyone can use some degree of estate planning weather it is simple Wills and Powers of Attorney to more sophisticated Trust structures designed to avoid taxation and provide instruction on who gets what and how they receive it upon death. 

Client Situation Primary Concern
Clients with minor children Need to provide for the personal and financial care of the minors in the event both parents die prior to the minors’ attaining the age of majority
Clients owning assets in multiple states Need to avoid ancillary probate so as to avoid increased administrative costs and estate shrinkage
Small-business owners Interest younger family members in the business; assure marketability of the owner’s interest if the interest is to be sold at retirement or death
Clients who have sufficient wealth to leave a taxable estate at death Ensure sufficient estate liquidity to pay taxes without having to sell estate assets
Clients who want specific assets (or a specific amount of assets) to pass to a specific beneficiary at death Need to avoid intestate distribution when property is not disposed of by will or will substitute
Clients in high-risk occupations, such as a doctor Need to protect personal assets from the claims of potential creditors
Clients who have non-U.S. citizen spouses Need to provide for spouse’s financial well-being after client’s death, but keep estate taxes to a minimum; the marital deduction is available only in limited circumstances
Clients who may become disabled in the future Need to appoint decision maker for medical and financial decisions; possibly qualify for Medicaid
Clients with domestic partners Need to avoid intestate distribution when property is not disposed of by will or will substitute



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