Estate planning is important at any age. Whether you just celebrated your 18th birthday or you’re enjoying retirement, a solid estate plan can help you take control of your assets, look out for your loved ones and decide what happens to you in the event of a medical emergency. Here’s a look at some key estate planning considerations for every age group.
Your Late Teens and 20s
Once you turn 18, you’re legally an adult. You might think you’re too young for estate planning, but there’s more to estate planning than asset allocation. As an adult, you should have an advance directive.
Think about what would happen if you got into a car crash and ended up in a coma. You wouldn’t be able to communicate, so how would anyone know what you want regarding your medical care? That’s what advance directives are for. These documents include a medical power of attorney and a living will that describes your wishes in certain medical emergencies.
Also, even though you are young, you should consider creating a will. You might not have a lot of assets yet, but you probably have some, including various digital assets.
Your 30s and 40s
If you don’t have a will yet, now is the time. Consider what you want to happen to your assets, including any real estate and digital assets. Depending on your situation, other strategies, such as a trust, might be appropriate. If you already have a will, you need to keep it updated. Review it every once in a while, especially after any major life events.
If you have children, you need to make sure that your estate plan will provide for them. Important steps to consider include purchasing life insurance, setting up a trust and naming a guardian.
Beneficiary designations are another important part of estate planning. Make sure your beneficiary designations reflect your wishes and update them as needed.
Your 50s and 60s
If your children are grown, you can update your will, trusts and beneficiary designations to reflect this. (Assuming you have these documents. If not, there’s no time like the present!)
Whether or not you have children, it’s important to update your estate planning documents. If you get married, get divorced, buy a house or go through any other major life change, make sure you update your will, trusts, advance directive and beneficiary designations.
Communication is important. At this stage in your life, you may be sandwiched between older parents and adult children. Encourage family conversations about estate planning. This can help you avoid disputes over inheritances or difficulty finding important documents.
Your 70s and Older
While you’re enjoying your retirement years, it’s important to continue to update your estate plan as needed. (Or to start your estate planning if you’ve been procrastinating this important task.)
To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, make sure your will contains key clauses, such as a total failure clause. If you haven’t done so already, you may also want to make charitable giving a part of your legacy.
Estate Planning for Your Unique Circumstances
These guidelines cover key estate planning considerations for various age groups, but everyone’s situation is different. You may have unique estate planning needs. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you craft a plan that works for you, regardless of your age. Contact us to get started.