Too many people make the mistake of thinking that an estate plan is only necessary when you enter the golden years. They think that until people are retired or struggling with a serious illness, there is no need to legally protect their assets, property, or loved ones.
This can be a costly assumption should the unexpected and catastrophic occur. In other words, proactive planning can benefit a person at any age.
Estate planning for people who are young, unmarried and without kids
Even though your assets may be few, you can still benefit from estate planning at a young age.
For instance, you can complete an advanced healthcare directive (or living will) to provide critical guidance to your family in the event you become medically incapacitated. You can also document your wishes regarding things like digital asset management and funeral arrangements.
Estate planning for people who are middle-aged with kids, either married or divorced
At this stage, you have more people and more assets to protect. In addition to deciding how you want your assets distributed, you might also think about creating trusts, naming guardians, and proposing an administrator of your estate.
You will also want to update your will to reflect any marriages, divorces, or births and re-evaluate your designated beneficiaries on life insurance contracts and investment accounts.
Estate planning for people who are approaching retirement or are retired
At this point, hopefully you have an estate plan in place, so you will want to be sure you regularly review and update the one you have.
Making sure your will and other elements of your plan are still current and reflective of your wishes will be crucial. This can be especially true as family members move away or predecease you, as your medical needs increase, and/or your assets change.
Legal support can be crucial at every stage
No matter what stage you are at when it comes to long-term care and estate planning, a legal representative can serve as a valuable guide to help you create and revise a plan that suits your needs.