It is easy to put off estate planning thinking you are too young to need one. Or to believe there is no need to bother if you have managed without one so far. Is there an age having one becomes essential?
You can make an estate plan as soon as you turn 18. That is the ideal time to make your first one, even if it is only basic. From then on, you can update it as and when needed. Let’s run through the ages and see what you might need at different points.
When you’re turning 18 years of age
As you come of legal age, you become able to inherit. So, you might find assets passing into your possession, which you would need to pass on if something happened to you.
Aside from that, 18 is also the age when you make your own health care decisions. Before then, a doctor would ask your parents they need authority for specific treatment. Once you turn 18, you should give someone power of attorney to speak for you if you cannot make your wishes clear. If you wish to name your parents, you can. You can also set out your preferences in a healthcare directive.
In your 20s, 30s and 40s
Most people that have kids do so around these ages. If so, you need to put them in your estate plan, naming a guardian in case anything happens to you and the other parent. You may also want to name them as beneficiaries.
Marrying, buying a house, starting a business, or investing money are other things your estate plan should consider.
In your 50s and onward
You may inherit from your parents, and your kids may turn 18 years of age and become eligible to inherit themselves. Waiting until you die to pass property to your children could lead to increased taxes or Medicare claiming it to cover any treatment you needed. Retirement plans will also become more critical as you move through life.
An estate plan allows you to prepare for whatever life throws at you at any stage of life. If you do not already have one, get help to make one now. It is never too early or too late.