When Should I Start Estate Planning?
If you are reading this, you should have already started planning. When a person turns 18, the responsibilities that come with being an adult become theirs. Planning for your finances, healthcare, and power of attorney is essential. Establishing an estate plan and updating it every three to five years is important. Few 18-year-olds will do this, but it is never too soon to begin planning.
Milestone Events That Necessitate Estate Planning
There are some big life events that should not be ignored, no matter your age. You will want to begin or update your estate plan when these occur. Listed below are some of these events:
- Savings accounts: When you open one, you should designate where the funds go in the case of your death. This ensures that your hard-earned money goes to the loved one of your choice.
- Homeownership: Purchasing a home is a sure sign that the estate planning process should be underway. By planning your estate, you can avoid the complex and often lengthy proceedings that take place in probate court.
- Marriage: When you marry, you will want to ensure that your spouse is taken care of in the event of your death. Estate planning is the ultimate act of care for your husband or wife.
- Divorce: This is when it is time to reevaluate your estate. If a first marriage fails, you may want to look at your bank accounts, insurance policies, titles, and deeds to ensure that any property goes to the right person or people in the case of your death.
- Remarriage: Combining your assets starts with estate planning. This is another time that it is suggested that you review your assets to determine whether your accounts, property, life insurance, and investments include your new spouse in the way you desire.
- Travel: When you are leaving the country for extended periods or frequently leaving for business reasons, it is important to look over your estate to ensure all of your choices still feel appropriate.
- Becoming a parent: This may be the thing that causes most people to begin estate planning. Thinking through the guardianship and financial security of your child is critical. Revisit this plan with each subsequent child.
- You come into possession of an inheritance or other assets: If you become an heir or are gifted with assets you did not have before, it is important to include these financial events in your estate planning.
- Becoming a grandparent: New grandchildren might mean you want to reevaluate your estate and include trusts or designate assets for them.
Nominating a Guardian
In the weeks leading up to the birth of your first child, consider who you would appoint as their guardian if something were to happen to you. It is crucial yet painful to contemplate, yet all new parents should consider it. But it should not stop you from thinking about it. Put it into writing by naming a guardian in your will.
You will want to discuss your decision with the chosen guardian and have it legally documented. With each child you bring into your family, you will want to update the plans in your estate.
Creating a Will
When you become a legal adult or reach the milestones listed above, you should speak to your attorney about a will. This will ease the burden of making hard decisions at the time of your passing to the people who are left behind grieving. A will can clear up questions about your healthcare proxy, name your power of attorney, and determine how your assets will be divided.
Creating a Trust
When you reach the time in your life when you have accumulated property, investments, and other assets, you might consider creating a trust. This will give you more control over the distribution of your things and can help avoid costly time-consuming probate issues. You may provide your beneficiaries with the added benefit of not having to pay certain taxes and fees.
Estate Planning Specialists
When you reach any of the milestones we discussed earlier, it is time to begin planning your estate. The lawyers at Brady McFarland & Lord, LLC, can walk you through every step of the process. As the years go by, we can help you to keep it updated as your life grows and changes. Contact us today to get started.