Estate planning is best done as early as possible. While it can be difficult to imagine the end of your life when you are young, it is generally best to start planning your estate before the age of 40. By this time, many have settled into families, careers, and lifestyles. It’s wise to start thinking about what you would like to have happen after your death once you have reached this point.
You probably have some idea of what you would prefer in terms of who would take responsibility for your medical and financial decisions if you were incapacitated and where your property would go after your death. An estate planning attorney can help you transform your preferences into a legally enforceable document that can provide your family with peace of mind.
Consider the following tips for planning an estate under 40 and start thinking about the factors you must consider for your own estate plan. Consult an experienced estate planning attorney for specific advice about your individual estate.
Be as Complete as Possible
The enforceability of your estate plan comes down to how precisely detailed and objectively developed it is. You should strive to not only include as many components as possible in your estate plan, such as power of attorney designations, living wills, trusts, and other end-of-life documents but also provide the greatest possible detail in the development of each of these components. Your estate plan’s main purpose is to limit the uncertainty your family will face at the end of your life or in a critical medical event. Create one with as much detail as possible and consider as many contingencies as you can to create the most comprehensive estate plan.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Discussing the end of your life or the death of a loved one can seem like an unpleasant topic, but ultimately these discussions can be very productive and offer a family peace of mind. If you have specific preferences about what you would like to have happen if you are medically unable to make major decisions on your own behalf or if you suddenly die, discuss these preferences with your family and hear what they have to say. Ensuring your loved ones know your wishes and then documenting those wishes into an enforceable estate plan offers security. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you take your loved ones’ wishes into consideration as you develop your own plan.
Double-Check Beneficiary Designations
Over the years, you will likely acquire several types of assets, including insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, and other accounts that will require you to designate beneficiaries. These beneficiaries assume ownership and control over these accounts after your death, and in some cases, they may receive specific benefits after your death. It’s not uncommon for someone’s preferences for beneficiaries to change over the years.
If you have older assets, insurance policies, or other accounts with beneficiary designations, make sure they are up to date as you develop your estate plan. If you were to draft an estate plan with beneficiary designations that conflict with previously designated beneficiaries, your plan could be complicated. This complication can create confusion for your surviving loved ones and lead to disputes over your estate.
Consult an Estate Planning Attorney
There are many ways you can start developing your own estate plan, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that fully addresses your needs, concerns, and preferences when it comes to beneficiary designation, property distribution, and power of attorney rights on your behalf.
While you can use many free tools available online to start building your estate plan on your own, an attorney can help you ensure your estate plan is complete and enforceable so your loved ones can rely on it when they need it most. It is easy to overlook details that have more of an impact than you might expect, such as secondary nominations for your power of attorney rights if your first choice is unable or unwilling to assume responsibility for your power of attorney.
An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the various components your estate plan should include and help you avoid common mistakes with estate planning. For example, your specific situation may make a Trust a more essential component of your estate plan that it might be for someone else. It can be very difficult to arrange these documents without legal guidance, and your attorney can answer any questions that might arise as you create your estate plan. If you are ready to start making your estate plan before 40, contact the Huber Law Group and find out how our team can help.