Most professionals and parents have more demands than time to handle them. You probably have to prioritize what challenges you conquer on any given day. If you want to achieve something special, you may need to plan weeks ahead of time to have the support and resources necessary.
Estate planning is a task that you could easily delay with a million small excuses. You may feel like you don’t have enough property or that you just aren’t old enough yet to justify the creation of an estate plan. After all, the life expectancy for many Americans is in their 70s.
If you are in your twenties or thirties, creating estate documents now may seem silly. How do you know it is time for you to create an estate plan?
You are an adult without a spouse
As soon as you turn 18, you are legally on your own. When it comes to a medical emergency, your parents won’t be much help unless you have an estate plan. They no longer have the right to access your medical records or make decisions about the care that you receive.
Until you get married or create medical powers of attorney, there may not be anyone to speak on your behalf if you experience some kind of incapacitating medical emergency.
You get married or have children
Once you get married, your spouse is an important safeguard, as they can manage your medical care and finances in the event of an emergency. However, your spouse likely depends on you, as do any children that you share.
Creating an estate plan ensures that you control what your spouse receives and what your children receive, and it also gives you the opportunity to name a guardian for your children so that they don’t wind up as wards of the state if anything happens to you.
You have significant assets
Maybe you inherited a house from your grandmother when you were in your early twenties, or perhaps you started a business right after college that has grown into a successful company.
When you have significant assets, it is important to create an estate plan so that you decide what happens to them if something happens to you. Otherwise, your closest family members will inherit those assets by default according to state law.
Some people create estate plans for other reasons, like witnessing the botched administration of a relative’s estate or receiving a serious medical diagnosis. Recognizing when your relationships or assets require estate planning helps you protect yourself and the people who depend on you.