At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys, our estate planning attorneys believe there is no specific age when you should start thinking about estate planning. It's never too early to consider what would happen to your assets if you died. All adults must have an established estate plan. Even if you are young and healthy and have few assets, you could become seriously ill tomorrow and not be able to make your own medical decisions.
And no matter how few assets you have, deciding who should get them is an important and empowering decision that reduces the burden on your loved ones. These are typical estate planning documents and topics to consider by age. Many financial advisors would recommend starting an estate plan the moment you become a legal adult and updating it every three to five years after that. The reason for this is that, at 18, you are responsible for your finances, health care (in some states), and power of attorney; and you want to constantly make sure everything is accounted for.
However, for most young adults, a succession plan is the furthest thing from the mind, which is normal. For many people, estate planning can only become a consideration with retirement planning, but there is no wrong age to start. Anyone who is no longer a minor can establish an estate plan. A succession plan is a great way to protect your legacy and loved ones long after your death, but if this process is so important, why do so many people put it aside? It's not uncommon to wait well into old age to start thinking about an estate plan.
Unfortunately, this strategy involves a lot of risks and is often not managed. This can put loved ones in a difficult position. Some people may include their beneficiaries not as individuals, but as charities or organizations for matters that matter deeply to them, which a succession plan can help you communicate to the state. You don't need an estate to start thinking about what happens to your assets after death and how they are distributed among the surviving members of your family.
To ensure that your final wishes are met and to avoid stress for your family, you need a succession plan. If you already have a child or children but haven't appointed a guardian, it's time to call a Milwaukee estate planning lawyer to help you get started. Estate planning is crucial if you are an elderly person, have a chronic or acute illness, or have significant assets. An estate plan doesn't just mean literal equity, but all the valuable assets you own, such as a house, savings account balance, or investment portfolio.
If you have an increase in wealth, assets, or if your family situation changes, it's a good time to start or modify an estate plan. This estate plan is in addition to a will and strictly covers your assets and liabilities, rather than an overview of wishes. If you don't create an estate plan, your loved ones could be trapped in lengthy (and sometimes costly) court proceedings to get their affairs in order. Each time you approach one of these life events, make sure these additions are taken into account by updating your succession plan.
A typical estate plan will include a Last Will and a Will and the creation of a Trust, if necessary.