When should you begin starting your estate plan? The short answer is: if you’re reading this, it’s time. There are many misconceptions about the estate planning process and we are here to break it down so you don’t have to. While a portion of estate planning does refer to the management of any of your assets (including your house and retirement funds), that is not all an estate plan is for.
Estate plans can also be used to assign insurance beneficiaries, plan for funeral expenses, and establish guardianship over any living dependents. Keeping all of that in mind, it can be overwhelming to think about creating an estate plan. Making decisions for an estate plan is something that is easy to put off in favor of other, more pressing matters. However, an estate plan does not need to be created all at once and can easily be updated to reflect your priorities. Keep reading to discover when to begin estate planning and how to establish a timeline that is comfortable for you.
When to Begin Thinking About Your Estate Plan
The general rule for estate planning is “the earlier, the better.” Even if you do not consider yourself to have many assets, starting your estate plan as early as possible can save you time down the road. Assets to consider including in your estate plan at the start can be your bank account, any of your personal belongings, and a life insurance policy. Beginning your estate plan early makes it much easier to edit and add on to your estate plan as the nature of your assets change.
When to Make Changes
Estate plans cover vital information, so it makes sense that they can be changed to reflect your life situation. Significant life events, such as getting married, can be a great opportunity to reevaluate and update your estate plan. Updating your estate plan after having or adopting a child is also crucial. Estate plans include the ability to assign guardianship over dependents, allowing you to secure your child’s future. Buying property or switching jobs are also examples of events that are good triggers for estate plan evaluation. Major life events are not the only time you can update your estate plan, though. Making sure your plan is up to date prior to any large vacations or international travel is also a great idea. Evaluating and updating your estate plan frequently is an excellent way to make sure that all of your assets and loved ones are accounted for.
Estate plans are essential for ensuring that your decisions about your assets are known and respected. Estate plans are meant to be thorough and starting the process can feel daunting. At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, our experienced estate planning attorneys are here to guide you through creating an estate plan tailored to your needs. Call us at 408-553-0801 to get started today with a free consultation.