With the new school year approaching and your child heading off to college, you've likely…
There is a misconception that an estate planning strategy is something the wealthy do later in life, after retirement, or after children are grown. Regardless of age or wealth, engaging in estate planning strategies is an important activity throughout your lifetime.
Estate planning can ease the process of settling personal affairs once you are gone and help avoid potentially long-lasting and costly impacts on your loved ones. Without a plan, state laws and probate courts could appoint individuals to be responsible for financial affairs and health-care decisions in case of illness and ultimately the transfer of assets upon death.
So, where do you start? Experts usually advise creating an estate plan once you become a legal adult. After this, it is important to update your plan every 3-5 years or when a major life event occurs. Here are some general guidelines for planning by age:
In your 20’s, your parents are no longer entirely responsible for your healthcare and financial decisions. This is a good time to set up a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney. These documents will enable someone to make decisions concerning your health and manage your personal affairs.
To nominate a legal guardian for your children. A will also stipulates who you wish to inherit your assets. This document can help confirm how your family is cared for, and your wishes are made known.
These documents become increasingly important, so if they haven’t been completed, this is the time to do it. Your affairs probably have become more complex, and most likely you have accumulated more assets. You may want to consider establishing a trust, as a trust can allow you to have more control over the distribution of your assets.
Your 50’s & 60’s:
If you are concerned about long-term care, you certainly want to plan ahead so that you won’t need to worry about escalating medical costs.
There is only one correct answer for when you should start estate planning, other than…NOW. Whether it is your age or life events, there are so many circumstances that might prompt someone to begin their estate planning strategies. Just remember that it is better to expect the unexpected and have something in place sooner rather than later. An estate planning attorney is always a good starting point, they can help guide you towards the best plan to suit your needs.
Contact The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm