When Should You Do Estate Planning?
If you are the breadwinner of your family and have amassed a large fortune over your lifetime, it is a no-brainer that you need an estate plan. However, there is no absolute age threshold or financial minimum that must be met before you can start making plans to protect your future.
There are many reasons why having an estate plan in place can benefit younger single people just starting out in their adult lives. Here are a few estate documents that can be created to protect your possessions, help your family in the event of an emergency and ensure your wishes are fulfilled in case you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Will/Trust: Wills and trusts allow you to state how you want your property distributed upon your death. You can even leave very specific items to friends and family members in a personal property memorandum: your favorite Fender electric guitar to your band mate, your furniture to your roommate, etc. You can also provide for pets and name a trusted person (executor) to carry out the terms of your will or trust.
- Power of attorney: If you become incapacitated for any reason (impaired by mental or physical disability), the person(s) you name as agent under power of attorney can make decisions on your behalf. An agent under financial or healthcare power of attorney can make financial and health care decisions for you as well as handle everyday affairs.
- Living will: A living will allows you to state your medical treatment wishes in the event you are not able to do so. For example, if you do not wish to be placed on life support, this can be stated in a living will so your family does not have to make this difficult decision for you.
- Organ donation: If you wish to donate an organ or part of an organ to help save another person’s life after your death, this should be known by your loved ones. You can learn how organ donation works and register online at Donate Life America.
- Burial/Cremation wishes: You can help simplify the memorial service preparation process for your family by clearly stating whether you would like to be buried or cremated. You can also provide details of when, how and where you would like your memorial service.
- Employment and other accounts: A trusted loved one should have access to all of your current employment information, retirement plans, life insurance policies, bank account information, financial accounts, etc. To access some of your stored information, your family or executor may need your passwords and PIN information.
Sometimes it takes a life change to spur someone to make an estate plan. Situations like buying a house, getting married, having/adopting a child or inheriting a large estate are common reasons why people decide to get serious about protecting their possessions and loved ones.
Just remember that this is not a one-and-done process. After you have created your estate plan, it will be necessary to review it periodically to make changes as needed. The earlier you create your estate plan in life, the more often you may need to revise it as you move through major life changes.
To help you understand how to create these types of legally-binding documents, you may wish to get help from a professional. The Denver estate planning lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can help you create estate documents in Denver. It’s never too early to put these “peace of mind” documents in place. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.