Estate planning is an important component of financial security, no matter your age or stage in life. While many people think that estate planning is only for those more established in life, the truth is that starting as early as after your 18th birthday can be beneficial. Having a plan in place ensures that individuals have control over how their assets are handled and distributed after death and also provides protection should they be unable to make legal decisions at any point in their lives.
Let's explore why building an estate plan can benefit you at every stage of life—from young adulthood to retirement and beyond.
When Can Estate Planning Legally Begin?
At the age of 18, individuals are legally considered adults and can make decisions about their lives and finances. This is an important milestone for many reasons, one of which is that parents no longer have the legal authority to make healthcare or financial decisions on behalf of their children after their 18th birthday.
If parents wish to protect their child in the event of an accident, establishing a healthcare power of attorney can grant an individual the decision-making ability to step in and make major decisions in the event of incapacitation.
What is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone as your agent who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions yourself. By having this document in place, individuals can ensure that their wishes will be followed and respected rather than resorting to legal procedures to make these important decisions.
Young adults might wish to grant their parents or spouse healthcare power of attorney, while those later in life might wish to grant this power to one of their children or a trusted family member.
Why Should I Establish An Estate Plan Early?
For those who are just starting out on their own and may not have significant assets, estate planning can still be important. It’s a good idea to establish an estate plan early on in life so that any personal items, such as family heirlooms or vehicles, are protected should anything happen to you.
Additionally, if you’re just starting to build your wealth, it’s essential to have a plan in place so that any assets you’ve accumulated can be managed and distributed according to your wishes. Early estate planning documents, such as a will or trust, can be readjusted to reflect the new ownership of assets, new beneficiaries, or other changes you intend to make.
What Other Milestones Should I Consider?
As we move through different stages of life, many big milestones, such as buying a home, getting married or divorced, or having children or grandchildren, might require adjustments to our estate plan. It’s important to be aware of the various legal documents and considerations that need to be taken into account when making any changes to your plan, such as wills or trusts.
Why is it Important To Find an Estate Planning Attorney Early?
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide reassurance and peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out. Having a professional guide you through the process ensures that you understand all aspects of your plan and are confident in any decisions or agreements you make. An estate planning attorney can review your existing documents to ensure they meet all legal requirements or create your initial will and other estate planning documents.
Developing a relationship with an estate planning attorney can also help you prepare for the future, as you can return to this attorney with any changes or questions you might have regarding your estate plan. With the right attorney and plan in place, you can rest assured that your assets will be protected if life throws a curveball.
Helping You at the Important Times of Your Life
No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to have an estate plan in place. Establishing a plan early on can ensure that your wishes are honored and can provide a sense of control over your assets should something happen to you. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is key when it comes to protecting your wishes and ensuring that all legal documents are properly established and up-to-date throughout life’s stages.
With the right team in place, you can feel confident that you and your wishes are taken care of at any time in life. By taking the time to plan and protect yourself and your loved ones, you can create a future that is secure for generations to come.
If you or a loved one is considering protecting their legacy, call our office today at (262) 205-0705 to schedule a phone consultation with our estate planning attorney. We are here to help you at every stage of life, through the most important times of your life.