Estate Planning is Not Just for the Wealthy From Austin Estate Planning Lawyer Liz Nielsen

estate planning not just for wealthy

It is a common misconception that financial management and estate planning are useful for only the wealthy. But estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Regardless of how much you have in the bank, you and your family can benefit from planning ahead for the future. If you fail to do so, you could leave your family scrambling if you pass away or suddenly become incapacitated . If you are on a fixed income, finances matter more than ever – for example, your car and rent payments must still be made, even if you have suffered serious health problems and can no longer work. Plan ahead to make the best out of the worst-case scenario.

Powers of Attorney

Should you be involved in a life-changing accident and end up unconscious in the hospital, who will make decisions on your behalf? It is a question that many people fail to consider, and once you are incapacitated, it’s too late. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you execute a Medical Power of Attorney so that your wishes are respected should you become incapacitated. The documentation will also point to a specific person who can make important medical choices for you. A living will, sometimes referred to as an Advanced Directive, can also be executed with the Medical Power of Attorney to allow you to specifically state your wishes when it comes to your end of life medical treatment.

It is also important that you have a Financial Power of Attorney. Anyone who travels frequently can benefit from having a trusted friend or family member named as their agent to act on their behalf regarding finances and property management. Of course, should you become incapacitated, designating someone as your Financial Power of Attorney can also be incredibly useful to ensure that your bills and other legal and financial obligations are met.

Guardians for Minors

When preparing for the future, it’s also essential to consider who you’d like to appoint as guardian for your minor children in case you’re unable to care for them yourself due to incapacity or death. While this outcome can be difficult to think about, it’s important that your minor children have security during this difficult time. Without a will, the guardian will be selected by the courts. This person may not be your first choice to care for your children, so it’s important to have your wishes documented.

Precious Keepsakes

Wills or trusts are also worthwhile if you have specific wishes for your material possessions and who receives them. The value of a beloved heirloom may not be monetary: In many cases, the keepsakes we pass down through the generations aren’t worth a lot of money but possess a great deal of sentimental value. Without a will or trust in place, the fate of your treasured possessions is in question. Your heirs will be forced to decide among themselves how to divide items up “evenly.” When used along with a will or trust, a Personal Property Memorandum allows you to dictate who will receive your most precious keepsakes. Another benefit of the Personal Property Memorandum is that you are able to change the document as often as you want without having to update the will or trust.

While you might not have ever considered an estate plan and what it might entail, it’s worth meeting with a trusted estate planning attorney to discuss ways to prepare for your future. Regardless of your income or net worth, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the things you hold most dear in life.


To many people, pets are furry members of the family. If your pet is important to you, you may want to provide for the pet in your will. You can specify who will take care of your pet and whether you want to leave funds for their wellbeing.

Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.