One of the biggest myths about estate planning is that estate plans are only for the “old” – people who are at or nearing retirement age. If this is your understanding of an estate plan, then you’re not alone. A lot of people falsely believe that they shouldn’t begin their estate plan until later in life. Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to think when it comes to an estate plan.
Everyone knows that life is unpredictable, which is why holding off on an estate plan is such a bad idea. You never know when you could die in a sudden, tragic car accident or be left incapacitated with no way of telling anyone about your end-of-life wishes. So when should someone begin planning for an estate plan? Let’s take a look.
Many estate planning experts suggest that an individual start considering their estate plan when they enter their adult years or when a major life event occurs, such as marriage or the birth of a child. This way, you can have beneficiaries in place just in case the worst should happen.
Many people in their 30s or younger typically don’t consider this a good time to plan for their estate, mostly because they have few asset to give to family members. But remember: an estate plan isn’t just about the money or property you have. Things like living wills, also referred to as health care directives, are also part of an estate plan. These legal documents let your loved ones know what medical treatments you’d like to receive and which ones you would not if the worst should happen.
While you might feel compelled to draft your estate plan on your own, consider for a moment the complexity of probate law. Also realize that probate law differs from state to state, making the process a bit more complex than you probably realize. Talking to a lawyer can eliminate the confusion and ensure your estate plan is on the right track for the future.