People often associate estate planning with elderly individuals. For instance, a middle-aged person may remember hearing their parents talk about writing a will or getting an inheritance from their grandparents. They know that this is something that people do as they age and prepare for the end of their life.
As such, they may assume that they are too young to make an estate plan and that they don’t need to worry about it yet. But is this true?
Estate planning can be used by almost everyone
The only sense in which this is true is if you’re under 18 years old. You do have to be a legal adult to write a will and make an official estate plan. As a minor, you may be included in your own parents’ estate plan, but you can make your own when you turn 18. Other than that, however, you can’t be too young to make a plan. All adults can potentially benefit from estate planning, even if they have modest assets. You don’t need to be wealthy, and much of estate planning isn’t even focused on wealth at all.
For example, you may want to make a medical power of attorney. If you are incapacitated for some reason, such as after an illness or an injury, you won’t be able to work with your medical team to make key decisions. A power of attorney gives your agent the legal ability to do so on your behalf. Again, people will sometimes assume that this is a provision needed by the elderly, who are more likely to suffer from incapacitating issues like heart attacks, strokes or Alzheimer’s. But it could be beneficial for anyone. People get injured in car accidents every day, for example.
Plus, it’s important to remember that estate plans can always be updated and changed. Maybe you’ll want to pick a new agent with your power of attorney in the future. But that shouldn’t stop you from choosing someone today. You can just make the alterations when you need to. The same goes for writing a will. You may have more heirs or more assets in the future, and you can easily update the plan to reflect this change.
As such, you may be considering getting started with your estate plan. Take the time to carefully consider your legal options and seek legal guidance, as necessary, to start putting your initial plan in place.