People often assume estate planning is something you only need to worry about if you are sick or older.
However, having a will and other estate planning documents can be beneficial for adults of any age.
In your 20s and 30s
You may not have valuable property or children, but elements of an estate plan can still be valuable for you.
For instance, if you get sick or injured and cannot express your medical wishes, someone else will need to do it on your behalf. And if you pass away, someone will need to settle your affairs, including paying debts, closing accounts and distributing your assets.
An estate plan can also appoint people to make decisions for you.
One other consideration is for people who are in committed relationships but not married. Including non-relative loved ones in your estate plan can protect them and their claims to your estate.
Between 40 and 60
People in this group may be married or divorced and have children. An estate plan can address critical matters in addition to those mentioned above, like guardianship.
You might also want to consider establishing a personal trust to leave financial gifts to your children. Depending on the type of trust you decide to create, you can dictate when a beneficiary receives funds and other rules for distribution.
Estate planning when you are over 60 can be crucial in terms of asset preservation and care planning.
Further, you may have more complicated assets at this point, from business ownership to valuable personal property. Your estate plan can direct the distribution of these assets, which can be immensely helpful to your loved ones, business partners and any philanthropic organizations that may receive a gift.
It is also important to note that adults face some issues no matter how old they are. What will happen to pets? Who will serve as your substitute decision-makers? How do you want loved ones to handle difficult situations like final arrangements?
Addressing these and other personal issues in an estate plan can give you and your family peace of mind. And that can be valuable for people of every age.