Brenda Lyle – Hometown News

Q: I’m not wealthy. Why do I need an estate plan?

A: When you hear the word “estate,” you may think of mansions and millionaires.  But “estate planning” is for everyone –and it is important! One part (the Will) directs the disposition of your belongings, when you pass away. But an estate plan also incorporates other documents to help your family should you become incapacitated.

There are two different types of estate plans:

A Will-Based Estate Plan   

  • A Will divides your assets among people when you die. It may also address the guardianship of minor children.
  • A Durable Power of Attorney designates someone to make decisions for you if you cannot — including financial and legal matters. This extremely powerful document should be given careful consideration.
  • A Health Care Surrogate names the person you want to make your health care decisions for you, in the event you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. This person should be trusted to carry out the wishes of your living will.
  • A Living Will addresses your “end of life” wishes. This can be very simple or complex, and can address your desires regarding medical treatment as well as spiritual needs.  They can also specify your funeral and memorial wishes.

A Trust-Based Estate Plan

This is very similar to a will-based estate plan, with one large exception: rather than a person, the trust itself owns the assets in the trust. A trust does not go through probate, a public legal process that establishes the validity of a will. The will component in a trust is just for assets not included in the trust.  A trust can also minimize taxes on the estate.

What’s the next step? And which type of estate plan is best suited for your life and financial situation? Call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771 and we will point you in the right direction. You will rest easy once it is done.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner for One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.