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Myth 7: “Estate planning is only for the ultra-wealthy.”

Reality: Estate planning is actually more important and relevant for “regular” folks.

If I had a fortune to support my family and myself, it might not make all that much difference if a sizable portion of my fortune was lost or taken away from me or my family. Consider the case of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest people in the world. At one point, his fortune was estimated to be $80 billion. If some personal crisis hit him and his family that caused him to lose half of that $80 billion, he’d have to find some way to get along with $40 billion. We’d all happily deal with such a challenge!

But let’s imagine something unfortunate happens to a normal, middle-class person like you or me; if that person were to lose a sizable portion of his or her estate, that would be a real problem for that person and family. This simple example shows why estate planning is not just for the wealthy; it’s much more relevant, much more important for people who aren’t millionaires.

Perhaps the wealthy understand that estate planning is actually much more relevant and important for “normal folks.” It could be why so very many of the rich and famous fail to do any estate planning or do it very half-heartedly. The result is that many of these wealthy folks and their estates end up paying millions and millions in taxes and other fees that could have been largely if not altogether avoided. On the other hand, perhaps we’re giving the rich and famous too much credit; their lack of planning isn’t really a result of such “logical” thinking but instead is due simply to the same misunderstandings and procrastination that seem to plague so many of the less-than rich and famous.