When To Create An Estate Plan
When is the best time to create an estate plan? As a young person, you think you are invincible, so it doesn’t occur to you to plan ahead to old age. Later, when you are involved in your career, you often feel too busy to take the time needed to do it. When you do reach your golden years, it might be too late to take advantage of some medical savings a thorough estate plan could have provided. At Phelps LaClair, we often say that failure to plan is planning to fail. It’s never too early and often too late to create or change a will or trust. So when is the best time to make or modify an estate plan?
When you turn 18, you become a legal adult. You are suddenly responsible for making adult choices and decisions. While you may still be in school or living at home, you are the one who needs to take care of your own finances and legal responsibilities. At this stage of life you begin to acquire possessions of value, such as cars, bank accounts, insurance policies, and tools of your trade. An estate plan will designate what will happen to these assets should you become incapacitated or pass away through illness or accident.
As we said, many young people don’t think about accidents or long-term illness. But what would happen to you if the unthinkable occurred? What kind of medical treatment would you want to receive? Would you want to be kept alive in a vegetative state? Your family would certainly want to know your wishes. A financial and medical power of attorney along with an advance directive should be put in place. Then there is no additional emotional burden for your family in a time of grief.
Marriage or Divorce
Marriage changes everything. You are no longer a single person, but now there are two. This is another critical time to create or change your estate plan. You and your spouse both bring assets into the marriage. What happens to these should one of you pass away? When there are assets that either one of you wants to keep separate, that needs to be stated in your plan.
Divorce also changes everything. Common property must be divided, beneficiaries must be updated, and powers of attorney need to be reviewed. Your estate plan will absolutely need to be changed. If there is a subsequent remarriage, it is definitely time to consult an estate planning attorney, especially when there are children involved.
When children come along, you will need to review your plan and perhaps name a guardian. Each child that is born will signal that it’s time to update your estate plan. If children are born into a blended family, there will be additional considerations to take into account. You will need an experienced estate planning attorney.
Phelps LaClair Can Help
As a second generation estate planning law firm serving Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Phelps LaClair has the experience to design an estate plan that meets the needs of each person or couple who comes to us. Whether you are a young person just starting out, or a growing family concerned about an uncertain future, we can help. Give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation. No matter what stage of life you are in, we can design a custom estate plan that will secure your future. The best time to create an estate plan is now!