A necessary and important life step, estate planning is the process of preparing the transfer and allocation of your assets and wealth in the unfortunate case of death or incapacitation. If you have wealth in the form of assets, bank accounts, pensions, life insurance, real estate, cars or other personal belongings, then now is the time to begin preparing for the future. Whether old or young, sick or well, rich or poor, it is important to ensure that when the time comes, your belongings and those dear to you are taken care of. It is advised, however, that estate planning be done while still relatively young and in good health, because whether we accept it or not, the future is very uncertain.
Although the time is always right to begin estate planning, there are significant life points at which these preparations may be especially vital. You should probably begin planning if:
- You’re Young, Single and in Good Health
Ideally, this is the best time to start estate planning. Though death is probably unfathomable at this stage in your life, it’s important to prepare for the unknown.
- Creating a will at a younger age is beneficial in the case that something does happen, so that you are able to ensure your chosen family and friends receive whatever assets you may have. Plus, you can change your will at any time throughout your life. At the very least, you’ll be staying ahead of the game.
- If living wills and trusts are of interest to you, this is also a good time to talk to an attorney and begin the process. Making important health decisions now, while in good health, can allow you to specify your wishes in the case of becoming incapacitated.
- You Have Children
Once you have had children it is especially important to begin estate planning, because it is the surest way to guarantee they will be taken care of if something were to happen to you. It is important to:
- Leave a will or living trust to ensure they receive your assets as requested
- Consider naming them as beneficiaries of your life insurance and other important accounts
- Hire an attorney who can possibly prevent your assets from getting stuck in the probate process
- Specify which children should receive what, in order to prevent possible disputes
- You’re Middle aged and Well Established
If at this point you own assets of significant value, you may want to have a plan for where they will go if something happens to you. Leaving behind a substantial amount of wealth without a will may create legal issues, lots of stress and possibly disagreements, among those in your life. You should:
- Name who should receive what, and whether you want any of your assets to be liquified
- Plan with a lawyer whether you want to leave your assets to your spouse, then children, or directly to your children.
- You Are of an Older Age or Have Serious Health Issues
If the possibility of death or incapacitation is more imminent, and you have not yet written out a will, you should contact an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Planning your estate will relieve both you and your loved ones of the burden and stress.
When starting or continuing preparations, you should contact an estate planning attorney in your area such as the Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney locals have been trusting for years. They can answer questions and concerns as well as help you set up a plan specific to your needs and circumstances.
A special thanks to our authors at Arizona Estate Planning for their expertise in Probate and Estate Law.