When Do I Need Estate Planning?

It’s a touchy subject. Planning for our wishes, whether they are while we are here or the hereafter, is difficult for a lot of people. While many people understand they need estate planning, “When do I need estate planning” is a common question with complicated answers!

Let’s take a look at a few different stages of life and talk about typical necessary planning, keep in mind that these are for “typical” situations. We’ll outline a few outliers, but always be sure to discuss with your qualified estate planning attorney what you’ll need before you plan.

Stepping Out: College Students

While a young person in school doesn’t have much in the way of assets, their family should still sit down and have a planning discussion. First and foremost, it’s time to have incapacity planninga young person and a child, enjoying life done as soon as an individual turns 18.

At least get it taken care of before they move out!

Incapacity planning allows a trusted friend or family member to speak for you should you be unable. You can also sign agreements that allow medical professionals to release necessary information to trusted individuals. If you’re doing this before going to school, be sure to send them to the school itself, and possibly file them with local hospitals (while keeping originals and digital copies for yourself).

Your planning professional may recommend doing a Will as well, particularly in the case of a complicated home situation. This may be a good idea, but will only be needed at THIS stage in a case by case basis.

Regardless, if you are moving out of the house for the first time, NOW is the time to protect yourself and your loved ones with incapacity planning! Save your family the burden of having to go to Court to make decisions for you.

Stepping Up: Your First Job

Just as we step into the world with our first “real” job, it’s time to step into more complete estate plan. In addition to reviewing your incapacity planning that was done during the prior step, it’s time to put together a will. While we hope that you won’t need to use it for many years, having that plan in place is far and away better than not having it at all.

Depending on your assets (and the projected growth of those assets) you may also be asked to consider building a trust!

If you are leaving college, or starting your career, NOW is the time to begin your estate planning journey!

Stepping Together: Planning For Two (or more)

a mother and son at the beachWhile planning before now is certainly a good idea, THIS is the point where it gets serious. Right as people move to the stage of life where they are starting a family (however it looks for them), they also need to consider what can happen to that family if they aren’t there to protect them. The will and incapacity planning are no-brainers at this point, but putting together a trust should be top priority at this point. In addition to allowing better access to assets between the couple, it will also shield their loved ones from needing to deal with probate. Some couples will want to plan separate trusts to ensure that their priorities will always be met, regardless of who passes away first.

If you are looking at starting a family, or your loved ones have families starting around you, NOW is the time to protect yourself (and them) from probate court!

Stepping Forward: Planning and Re-Planning

An estate plan is a living document, and like any living thing may need attention from time to time. Everything from changing laws to changing families require that plans be updated on a regular basis. Priorities change as well. The combination trust of one year may need to change to individual trusts the next.

If laws and families are changing around you, NOW is the time to make sure your plan reflects that.

It seems like a lot, but it’s just this simple. “When do I need estate planning?”, the answer is NOW. At any stage of life for an independent (or dependent) adult, there is a risk to forcing your family to go through the pain of probate court. Give us a call today at 419-352-7522, and we can talk about what your family may need today!

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney

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