You know that you’re going to need to draft an estate plan eventually. You imagine it being used by your family after you’ve passed away in old age, so it seems like something that you wouldn’t have to do until well after you’ve retired.
The truth is that it is not too soon to make an estate plan, as long as you’re a legal adult. Once you are past the age of 17, planning is possible and potentially necessary. You can always make a plan at a young age and update it. In fact, estate plans often evolve over time, reflecting a person’s situation in life.
How the process could unfold
For example, people will sometimes start to do their estate planning when they have just become new parents. They want to pick a guardian for their child or set up a trust that can hold their assets if they pass away while their child is still a minor.
As their children get older, these parents may begin to have certain health troubles or complications. This could cause them to think about using an advance directive to note their medical preferences and who is going to make their medical decisions. A power of attorney can also be used for financial decisions. These resources won’t “kick in” until someone is incapacitated, so they can be created at any age and they only are used when they’re actually needed.
As people get older, they may have substantially more money than they did earlier in life. At this point, their estate planning focus might shift to protecting their assets for eventual distribution to their loved ones.
An evolving set of documents
Perhaps the best way to think about your estate plan is as a set of evolving documents that you will change over time. Seeking legal guidance can help to ensure that your base documentation is properly drafted and that your updates remain enforceable.