Creating an estate plan is something that people typically put off. Often, people don’t think they need to do it, or they don’t think they have anything worth protecting. As a result, they procrastinate and cross their fingers.
However, things happen every day that can prompt us to reassess our priorities and take stock of our life goals. These events, which we discuss below, can provide the perfect opportunity to finally talk to an attorney about estate planning.
When should I create an estate plan?
You don’t have to wait for something significant in your life to happen before you create an estate plan. As long as you are an adult with wishes about your medical care and property distribution, you can create an estate plan. That said, the following events often contribute a sense of immediacy in planning for the future:
- The birth of a child or grandchild
- The death of a close loved one and beneficiary
- Significant changes in financial assets
- A serious medical event involving you or your loved one
- Purchase or sale of a business
- Purchase or sale of a home
- Estrangements or reunions
- Deciding to retire
These are some of the major life events that can change how people feel about protecting their loved ones, assigning decision-making roles and creating a financial framework in the event of the unfortunate or unexpected.
What should be in an estate plan?
Every person has different priorities, needs and assets. As such, every person’s estate plan should be tailored to their specific situation. However, there are some basic elements of a solid plan, including:
- Health care directives
- Powers of attorney
- Guardianship designations
These, along with other documents, should be personalized and drafted in such a way that they are valid and reflect your wishes accurately. And while this may seem complicated, there are legal professionals who can make the planning process easier to navigate.
It is never too soon to start thinking about the future. And while you can put off planning until some major life event occurs, you can create your plan now and revise it after a significant event. This approach can make the process less complicated now and in the future.