For many people, the life event that spurs them to start making an estate plan is retirement. Once they are done working, they know that it’s time to begin thinking about what to do with the assets that they have accumulated. They then make an estate plan to pass those assets on to the next generation.
However, this is far from the only reason to start making an estate plan. In reality, most people need to have a plan in place well before retirement because they have already experienced some key events that would make it useful. Here are a few examples of what these events may look like and why a plan may be necessary well before someone’s golden years.
Having a child
Young people who have their first child may want to consider an estate plan. It can be beneficial to put assets in a trust just in case they pass away while their child is still a minor. They can also use the estate plan to choose a guardian, giving them the assurance that their child will have a stable life with the support and guidance they need in the event that they pass away unexpectedly.
Being diagnosed with an illness
Naturally, health complications also mean that it’s time to engage in estate planning. Even when the prognosis is good, an estate plan can be helpful. For example, someone who has been diagnosed with cancer may expect to make a full recovery in the next few years, but it can still be beneficial to create an estate plan just in case. The plan can also use a medical power of attorney or other such documents to plan for the possibility of a complicated medical future.
There’s no time like the present
Another reason that people wait until they are older to make an estate plan is because they’re waiting until they have “enough” assets to do it. But there are two important things to note here. The first is that a person doesn’t have to be wealthy to benefit from an estate plan. The second is that, they may also want to consider things like long-term care planning and setting up advanced healthcare directives in the event that they’re injured or taken ill and cannot advocate on their own behalf.
No matter why you’ve decided to make an estate plan, it’s critical that you understand all of the legal options you have available to you by seeking legal guidance. You can then create a comprehensive plan that will work well for your family.