You don’t have to be a billionaire

Not everyone understands what is at stake with an estate plan. When you are alive, one of the things you take for granted — you probably never think about it — is that you can simply transfer what you own. What do you need an estate plan for?

Well, what about when you are gone?

Here’s an example. Tony Hsieh founded Zappos and sold it in 2009 to Amazon for more than $1 billion. He recently died without an estate plan and it is causing his loved ones immense problems.

You may say, “But I’m no billionaire, — what does it matter if I die without an estate plan?” How is anything different for having one?

Let’s just take one issue — selling your home. As I mentioned, while you are alive, it’s no problem. You can easily prove it is yours and so you can transfer it. But when you are gone, whose is it? How can it be sold, so that the proceeds can go to your kids? How does a buyer even know that he is talking to the right person to buy it from?

The only way to know is by proof, proof that generally comes from the probate court.

In other words, even if you own nothing more than a home, you need an estate plan, a Will, because that appoints your executor, so that he or she can sell your home in a way that a buyer can rely on.

Be smarter than Tony Hsieh.

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Tony Hsieh - Founder of Zappos