The average person waits a little too long to start creating an estate plan. They might tell themselves that they will create documents when they start getting ready to retire. Although the average lifespan in the United States is over the age of retirement, not everyone makes it to their sixties and beyond.
Unexpected illnesses, job accidents and car crashes are among the unforeseeable circumstances that might lead to someone’s premature demise. If you don’t already have an estate plan in place when something unfortunate happens, you may leave behind a mess for the people you love. How do you know when it is time to start estate planning?
1. When you are an adult but do not have a spouse
Anyone who is a legal adult would benefit from an estate plan. Unless you have a spouse, there may not be anyone to speak on your behalf in the event of your medical incapacitation. Your parents no longer have the right to make medical decisions or to access your medical records without special paperwork.
Creating an advance directive and powers of attorney is an important beginning stage of estate planning even for those who don’t yet have their own family or any major assets to their name.
2. When you have children or a spouse
As your immediate family grows, your estate planning needs will change dramatically. You need to start thinking about how to support and provide for your dependent family members if anything happens to you.
Integrating a life insurance policy into your estate plan, creating a trust to leave a more complex legacy and addressing the need for a guardian are among the estate planning issues to address.
3. When you have health concerns
Some people will learn surprisingly early in their lives that they have a major health issue, like cancer or multiple sclerosis. A diagnosis with a lifelong or life-threatening illness may make you aware of your own mortality and force you to address matters like if you can get Medicaid later when you need it and what kind of care you want to receive.
It will generally benefit every adult to have an estate plan and to continue updating it as their life circumstances continue to change over the years. Drafting estate planning documents and keeping them up to date will help you secure protection for yourself and your closest family members.