Why do I need an estate plan. Doesn't the law take care of it al­ready?

If you don't have an es­tate plan, the state gov­ern­ment has an es­tate plan for you, which is called in­tes­ta­cy. If you like the state's es­tate plan for you, then you don't need to do your own es­tate plan. In WA, our in­tes­ta­cy stat­ue dic­tates whom your law­ful heirs are – see RCW 11.04.015 . Be­sides de­cid­ing whom will in­her­it from you, in Wash­ing­ton, if the dece­dent does not have a Will by which to tell the court to waive bond and non-in­ter­ven­tion pro­bate pro­cess, the per­son who wants to ad­min­is­ter your es­tate or­der­ly will be re­quired to post a bond and su­per­vi­sion of the court dur­ing the pro­bate pro­cess.

Is life insurance important to have?

It de­pends. If you have ac­cu­mu­lat­ed enough as­sets so that if you were gone your family is taken care of fi­nan­cial­ly, then you may not need life in­sur­ance. Oth­er­wise, life in­sur­ance is very im­por­tant. I am a big fan of "term" insur­ance be­cause the pre­mi­um is gen­er­al­ly very af­ford­able which al­lows you to continue to accumulate your disposable income as your goal should be to outlive your life insurance.

How much life in­sur­ance do I need?

A good ap­proach is to get mul­ti­ple quotes for term life in­sur­ance, and make a decision based on the premium you can af­ford com­fort­ably and still be able to set aside money for sav­ings or invest­ment.