When should my family start thinking about estate planning?
When should my family start thinking about estate planning? Far too many people believe estate planning is only for the elderly or for the super-rich. In reality, virtually every adult has some level of an estate and could benefit from estate planning. Further, if you are even remotely thinking about estate planning, then the time is definitely now. It is extremely important that you ensure your assets pass to those you would choose, that your minor children or adult special needs children would be cared for and that your estate will be handled properly, without unnecessary expense or drama. If you are young and healthy, the mere thought of death or incapacitation may seem like very distant concepts. You may not think you have the money to engage in estate planning, or you may really not know who you would leave your assets to.
Estate planning gives you control over what would happen in the event of your death or incapacitation and knowing you have provided for your loved ones can provide you with significant peace of mind. You may have no idea how you should begin estate planning. Consider starting with a simple will, after you have made a list of all your assets, including how they are titled, their value, and whether there is debt against any of the property.
Review all your insurance policies and the beneficiaries of those policies. If you have minor children, determine who you would want to raise your children in the event of your death, and how you would ensure they were financially provided for. Once you have a will in place, consider establishing a trust, a power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. Finally, consider including a separate sheet regarding funeral planning. So, the short answer is that you should consider estate planning now—from whatever point you are in your life. Once your estate plan is complete, you will review it from time to time to ensure it still fits your needs and your life.