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Taking steps towards creating an estate plan

Many Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of estate planning and many who are familiar with some aspects of this process believe that they do not need to deal with it until they reach an advanced age. The truth is that nearly every individual over the age of 18 should consider estate planning. Even if you have no dependents and no real income or assets, certain elements of the process are important and relevant for nearly everyone.

Before digging into the specifics steps one should consider taking in order to create an estate plan, it is important to understand that estate planning is a living process. This essentially means that once you create an estate plan, you are not done with the process of estate planning. You should revisit and revise your plan as your life, your assets and your relationships evolve. As a result, you need not worry that an estate plan created at a young age will be irrelevant by the time you reach retirement. Chances are that you will have revised your plan many times before you reach an advanced age.

If you are likely to revise your plan numerous times over the course of your life, why is it necessary to create a plan now? This is an excellent question with a fairly straightforward answer. The simple truth is that you could perish unexpectedly or become incapacitated by an accident at any time. As a result, you will benefit from setting up a power of attorney for medical decisions and drafting a basic will, at minimum, to address your sentimental property in the event that either of these things happens to you without warning.

Estate planning can be a frightening prospect for some individuals. However, an experienced attorney can almost certainly help to make it less frightening and easier in general.

Source: Financial Planning, “Estate Planning Checklist: 5 Things to Do Now,” Tracy Craig, Jan. 27, 2015

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