You don’t have an estate plan yet, but you know that you’re going to need one. You have a lot of company. The fact of the matter is that most Americans have not even done their estate planning yet, despite the fact that they will someday need a will. One of the biggest reasons is simply that they don’t know if they should do it yet. They decide that they’ll put it off until they’re older.
But is this wise? If you know that you’re going to need an estate plan eventually, when should you make it? Is procrastinating potentially causing a lot of problems or increasing the risks for your family and ways that aren’t necessary?
Even young people need estate plans
The fact of the matter is that most experts say that you can’t plan too early, and that you’re best off to do it as soon as you can. Once you turn 18 and become a legal adult, you have the ability to make your own estate plan. Even if you have very few assets and no children, it might be good to get a basic plan in place.
Remember, you can always update it as you get older. There’s no harm in having it in place early. Another common time when people create their estate plans is when they become parents. You could argue that it’s wise to do it before this, but having a child really helps put things in perspective for a lot of people and they decide to create a plan shortly thereafter.
After all, estate planning doesn’t just mean deciding who gets your assets. If you’re a young parent, you may want to pick a guardian for your children. If you just got married, you may want to decide how to leave assets to your spouse. Even if you’re unmarried and you have no children, you may want to consider where your assets are going to go. Plus, you can use things like medical powers of attorney and advance directives to address potential medical needs that you could have in the future, if you are injured or ill, something that can really happen at any age.
How do you start planning?
Exactly the type of plan that you’ll need depends on the specifics of your situation. The best thing to do is just to start looking into all of your options and considering what you want your estate plan to accomplish.