When Should You Begin Estate Planning?

The process of estate planning is something that most people rarely consider. However, everyone needs to plan out his or her estate at some point. Here are a few things to consider about estate planning and when you should begin.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process that will help you determine what happens when you die or are incapacitated. Many people overlook this process because they do not plan on dying within the next year. They know that eventually they will pass away or be incapacitated, but they never think it will happen soon. The estate planning process includes a will, a medical power of attorney, and a power of attorney. In some cases, it can also include a trust and funeral planning requests.

Creating a Will

Even if you do not want to do the other parts of the estate planning process, you need to focus on completing a will at the very minimum. A will can make everything much easier when you pass away. If you are a parent, it is essential that you clearly outline who you want your child's or children's guardian to be in the event that you and your spouse die. Otherwise, it will be left up to the court system in order to decide who should raise your children. Considering that you could die at any moment, this is something that you will want to do as soon as possible.

In addition to deciding where your children will go, you also will be able to specify who gets all of your assets when you die. Even if you do not have much in the way of assets, you should still decide who gets them when you pass away. Otherwise, your family members will have to go through the probate court process and settle the issue.

Medical Power of Attorney

Another important part of the estate planning is the medical power of attorney. This document will specify who will be making decisions regarding medical treatment when you are unable to. For example, if you are paralyzed and cannot speak, you will need someone to have the authority to make decisions for you. Considering that you could be in a car accident or suffer some other medical problem at any point, you need to start this part of the estate planning process immediately as well.

Trust

Many individuals who have substantial assets choose to use a trust so that they can have control over how they are distributed. For example, if you had a large sum of money that you did not want your young children to have until they reached a certain age, a trust would be the way to ensure this happens. Unless you have substantial assets, you could potentially put this part of the process off until you get closer to retirement age.

Starting the Process

When you decide that you are ready to start the estate planning process, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. He or she will be able to draw up the necessary paperwork that needs to be completed.

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