When Should You Plan Your Estate?

If you live your life to the fullest and make the most of all your opportunities, then perhaps the last thing on your mind is planning your estate. It may feel much more like what you do when you are nearing retirement and after the fun milestones like marriage and children. However, life is rarely, if ever, that predictable. The children may come before marriage; in some cases, marriage and divorce may even come before the children. When these twists happen unexpectedly, you have little choice but to adjust and carry on. When it comes to planning your estate, though, you get to plan for the major inevitability.

Your estate consists of everything you own, such as your house or other real estate, vehicle, bank accounts, savings, life insurance, other assets, and personal belongings.  An estate plan allows you to decide how these items are distributed to those you care for. It organizes your affairs and records your wishes and intentions in writing.

There are several benefits to planning your estate. It allows you to put plans in place that make things a bit easier on your loved ones. Estate preparation also helps you escape taxation and legal tie-ups while ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. An estate plan even names the individuals who will take care of your minor children and who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so for any reason.

If you are on the fence about taking a step like this now, just imagine what might happen if something happened to you and you were forced to make all these decisions while being ill? Apart from all the stress you might experience at the moment, just by virtue of your health and mental state, you would be more likely to make unwise, hasty, and erroneous decisions under such circumstances. For that reason, in particular, it is much better to make those kinds of decisions when you are at your best.

Getting life insurance does not mean you are about to die tomorrow. Similarly, making an estate plan does not hasten the inevitable. But bear in mind that an estate plan is only useful if you keep it up to date. Regularly review your plan, especially after major life events such as marriage, divorce, or family death. Changes in tax laws or other financial policies should also be kept in mind. Your heirs may still face some of the issues you worked so hard to avoid if your estate plan is out of date.

If you are not sure how to get started, there are some institutions in place to help walk you through estate plan basics. The process really does not have to cause you much discomfort, and if you can’t start putting plans in place right now, then the best approach is to get started as soon as you possibly can.