For the many of us who still feel far from established in terms of career, wealth and/or family, the concept of an “estate” might seem pretty abstract and irrelevant. I find it automatically conjures the image of a grand country mansion, like something out of Downton Abbey or Gone With The Wind. It sounds wealthy, maybe a little old-fashioned, and definitely complicated.
“Estate planning,” by association, can seem similarly esoteric. That’s special rich-person business, right?
Actually no, not at all. An estate is, quite simply, the sum total of a person’s stuff, and an estate plan determines what happens to all that stuff after they die. Unless you’re either a hermit or the unconverted Ebenezer Scrooge, you almost certainly have a) stuff, and b) people you care about who could benefit from that stuff when you no longer need it.