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When Should I Create an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is something that many people assume they should wait to do until they are retiring. However, any adult can create an estate plan at any time. As long as someone has values, assets or people they wish to protect with an estate plan, they can start planning.

That said, there are numerous events that can make estate planning especially important or timely.

Personal changes

If you go through an experience that leads to a shift in your ideals or life goals, then you may want to consider creating a will to reflect your current outlook. This can avoid situations where others make decisions or arrangements on your behalf based on outdated or incorrect assumptions about your wishes.

Changes in your family

Births, deaths, estrangements, and reconciliations can have a tremendous impact on a person’s wishes in terms of beneficiaries and appointments. After these events, it can be important to create an estate plan that includes or excludes people who have entered or exited your life.

Physical or medical changes

Serious illness, injuries, and other medical or physical events can change people’s long-term care plans. In the event of an accident, recovery, or other significant health-related events, it can be wise to create a plan that reflects your needs and wishes for your medical care.

Financial changes

Whether you come into or lose a meaningful sum of money or an asset, creating an estate plan that details how you want those assets and debts to be distributed can be crucial. Not only does it provide critical guidance to loved ones, but it can also help you avoid costly penalties associated with transferring property.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of the events that warrant examination of your estate planning goals and needs. However, it can serve as a clear reminder that you do not have to wait until retirement to create a plan. And you don’t have to assess your options alone, either. You can discuss your goals and wishes with an attorney who can help you create an estate plan that fits your needs.