When you’re young and healthy, estate planning is likely the farthest thing from your mind. But you are never too young to start planning, especially if you have people in your life you need to take care of. If you can create an estate plan that involves disability planning as well as planning for death, you’ve gone a long way toward protecting the people who are most important to you and protecting yourself too.
You don’t need to be wealthy to benefit from an estate plan. If something should happen to you, what would the people close to you need to do? Would they know where your accounts are? If you have insurance? How you want medical decisions made if you are unable to make them?
Even if you are young, you probably have strong ideas about what you would want done in the unlikely event of something happening. It’s a good idea to assign someone the authority to make medical decisions if you’re disabled, even if only temporarily. This will ordinarily be done through a health care designation. And everyone should have a living will stating what kind of end-of-life care he or she wants. These documents are invaluable if you are involved in a serious accident, for instance.
A power of attorney can also be important. With this power of attorney, the designated person can pay your bills and take care of your financial affairs in general if you’re temporarily disabled.
For an estate plan, you’ll want to meet with an estate attorney. You need to ensure that your estate plan is done properly and is fully compliant with relevant laws and regulations. Your estate plan will likely include a will and may assign beneficiaries for any retirement accounts you have. If you have children, estate planning is particularly critical. Who will care for the children if something happens both to you and their other parent? Don’t forget to include instructions for pets. If you have assets you particularly care about, such as an online photography collection, you’ll want to designate someone to take care of them.
Once you have an estate plan, you should review it regularly. An estate plan particularly needs to reflect changes in your life if you’ve gotten married or divorced, had children, or if your children have had children.
It’s unlikely that you will need any of these things in the near future, but having them will give you peace of mind and give the people closest to you peace of mind. If you have questions about estate planning, we’re glad to answer them. Please contact us today!