Regardless of the current phase of your life, taking the time to begin the estate planning process is a vital step. But when does one start? This is one of the biggest questions when it comes to estate planning.
Estate planning isn’t just for those planning to retire soon or for elderly folks. Many attorneys recommend starting your plan before or after starting a family. While not everyone will begin creating their estate plan around the time they have children, this is actually a great time to get the ball rolling. But even if you’re in a later stage in your life, there’s an estate planning solution for you.
While taking the first step in estate planning may seem intimidating, rest assured that the process can be smoother than you may expect.
Here’s what you need to know about starting your estate plan:
Starting your plan sooner than later is the better option.
Life is full of uncertainty. While the average life expectancy of Americans is now at approximately 82-years-old, this does not guarantee anything. Genetics, lifestyle choices, illness, and even accidents may lead to a sooner and/or unexpected death.
Only one thing is for sure: that if you die without an estate plan, there will be consequences that may affect both you during retirement years as well as your loved ones after you pass.
But starting your Legal Life Plan™ as early as you get married, even if no children are yet present, can be a good idea. Your main goal, however, should be to never wait until the last minute to begin estate planning.
Going through the process later on, you may have to resort to crisis planning, an emergency form of estate planning. While at this stage you can still plan for long-term care as well as other aspects of your estate plan, the options can be limited.
Unfortunately for many, they never even get the chance to put together a crisis plan, let alone, a traditional estate plan. If you want to make sure you can have a plan put together at all before you pass, starting soon is a wise option.
Estate planning involves a lot, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Before you begin the estate planning process, gathering certain information pertaining to your plan can help make the actual planning process smoother.
Consider deciding and/or collecting the following information prior to estate planning:
- Your financial information and all of your assets
- The people you wish to inherit from you after you pass
- Who you want to be your executor or trustee
- Who you may want to consider having power of attorney in case you are incapacitated and can no longer make decisions at some point in your life
If the Legal Life Plan™ process seems confusing, remember that our team will be there for you every step of the way. We can answer any questions and provide recommendations for your specific case as necessary.
If paying for an estate plan is an issue for you, talk to us! There are many options, but not having a plan is not one of them. Creating a personalized Legal Life Plan™ is worth the costs if it means financing long-term care and protecting loved ones.
As things change throughout your life, your estate plan can also evolve.
A Legal Life Plan™ is not static; it can be adjusted as people, situations (e.g., marriages), and assets in your life diminish or expand. The flexibility of an estate plan is well-appreciated as there aren’t many individuals out there whose plan wouldn’t ever need to be amended at some point.
Even if the things in your life do stay the same, it’s possible that you may change your wishes for your future as well as what happens after you pass. This is okay too.
Beginning your estate plan, you shouldn’t presume this will be the only time you’ll be involved in the process. Instead, your plan should coincide with your current standpoint in life. However, that same plan may not be relevant later down the road. Expect future changes to occur. If anything, be happy when changes to your plan need to be made as this indicates that you’re being mindful of your present in relation to your future.
Ready to begin the process of estate planning? Please visit or contact our Idaho Estate Planning staff to set up an appointment. You can also request a FREE copy of Mark Wight's book, Get Real: Planning for Life, Death, and Disability to learn more about the Legal Life Plan™ process.