There is a persistent myth that people don’t need to think about estate planning until they are at retirement age or even past it. Actually, you can embark upon estate planning much earlier in your life if you wish. You never know when you might be unable to communicate due to a health crisis or when something might happen and you suddenly pass away.
You will be making things less burdensome for those close to you, like your spouse, children and other family members if your intentions are plainly spelled out in your estate plan. That way, all concerned will know who you name as your personal representative, who you want to inherit mementos that mean a lot to you and who will make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.
You will feel relieved if you know that the people you care about most will be taken care of after you are gone.
What if you lack an estate plan?
If you don’t have an estate plan, your assets may be distributed to your survivors by the court. That probably will not align with what you envisioned. And on top of that, nasty bickering may occur between relatives who insist they deserve, say, your vintage movie poster collection or the vintage heirloom china you inherited from another. And if you have kids, who do you want to raise them?
Why is early preparation key to a good estate plan?
Putting together an estate plan can’t be done haphazardly. It requires time, thought, discussion with your spouse and possibly other loved ones. You may want to obtain professional advice as well. So starting early makes good sense.
What does an estate plan include?
There are certain fundamentals that most estate plans feature: life insurance, funeral plans, a guardian for your kids, durable power of attorney, tax planning, your selection for your personal representative, charitable donations you wish to make, a will, a living trust and your health care proxy.
Don’t put this off. Getting your estate plans in order can help provide security for both you and your family.