What Is An Estate?

Many people are familiar with the term ‘estate planning’ but few are clear on what that entails. Much of the confusion comes from what exactly is in a person’s ‘estate.’

Legally and simply put, an estate is all the property a person owns or controls. It includes the property that a man or woman holds in his or her name, in a partnership, joint ownership, business interests, personal property, real property, etc.. An estate also includes all the debt that a person owes. Traditionally, estate planning primarily focuses and deals with managing all of the property, assets and debts in a person’s estate and passing them on.

An Estate Is Everything About You

Many people believe that they do not need to plan their estate because they have limited assets or they have more debt than assets and property. This could not be further from the truth though. Today though we understand that an estate encompasses much more than simply a person’s assets and property. An estate consists of a person as an individual: the person’s wishes for how he or she wants to take care of those left behind, how he or she would like his or her children to be raised, and whom he or she would like to care for him or her if he or she is ever incapacitated.

Everyone Needs An Estate Plan

Planning your estate can be as simple or as complex as you want or need it to be. However, everyone needs to have an estate plan in place. Estate planning is not just for those who have retired or those with a significant amount of assets. A good estate plan often addresses passing on a person’s values and wishes while ensuring that the right people are in place to take care of him or her when the worst happens.

Failure To Plan Takes Away Your Control

If you fail to have an estate plan in place before you are incapacitated or pass on, the alternatives for your family and those you leave behind are costly, inefficient and time-consuming. State law will dictate who makes decisions regarding your family, children, health care choices and who will inherit from your estate. Chances are you are not comfortable with the government dictating important family and financial choices. If you fail to plan ahead of time you risk leaving your family open to difficult decisions at periods of emotional turmoil and distress.

Plan Early

People don’t plan to fail but many people fail to plan. An affordable basic estate plan will ensure that you and your family will be taken care of in cases where you cannot communicate or cannot help.


If you are interested in discussing your estate, contact the offices of Steciuch Law to learn more.