At What Age Should You Start Estate Planning?
A pervasive myth is that you should be a certain age (older) when you start thinking seriously about estate planning. However, there are no age limits on estate planning nor are there income limitations or expectations. Once you become an adult (i.e 18 years old), you should start thinking about what your wishes are and drafting certain estate planning documents.
While no one wants to think about dying, failing to draft important estate planning documents can mean:
- Your wishes won’t be known or honored concerning guardianship, asset division, or health concerns (i.e. what to do if you are in a coma or on life support and cannot speak for yourself).
- Your family may have disputes concerning assets and debts.
- There may be a lengthy, complicated litigation process.
- The estate taxes may be quite hefty.
Common Reasons to Start Thinking About Estate Planning
When you should start estate planning can be influenced by certain life circumstances, such as:
- Moving out of your parent’s house
- Major purchases (i.e business, home, etc.)
- New job or higher income
- Receiving an inheritance
- Loss of a loved one
When to Draft Certain Estate Planning Documents
As soon as you become a legal adult, you should draft a valid will and certain powers of attorney. With a financial and/or healthcare power of attorney document, you can outline what actions should be taken in the event you have a medical emergency. A will can also outline what you want in terms of arrangements and dividing your possessions.
In your 30s or later in life, you may consider revising your will to reflect the changes in your life. If you have children or have gotten married, you may want to change who will inherit your assets, settle your estate, and be designated as a guardian for your child. You may also have more assets and wealth, which can be put into a trust for your family (or a charity or whoever you wish to be named as a beneficiary).
In your 50s and 60s, you should talk with your children or family about who has a copy of your estate planning documents and what to do in the event of your passing or a health crisis. With the help of a reliable attorney, you can also begin Medicaid and/or trust planning.
It is important to note that these age-based suggestions are generalized. Each person and case is different, and the estate planning documents you need vary based on your individual goals and needs. You should speak with an attorney to get a more specific, personalized idea of what documents you need.
Get Started with Estate Planning
J. Roland Jeter, P.C. is here to help you ensure your wishes are honored and navigate the legalities of planning for the future. Attorney Jeter offers estate planning services involving:
If you need help drafting a will, establishing a trust, or addressing concerns you have after the loss of a loved one, Attorney Jeter is here to help you. Call 972.330.4050 or reach out online to schedule a consultation.
J. ROLAND JETER
2505 Texas Drive, Suite 109
Irving, TX 75062