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At What Age Should You Start Estate Planning?

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While the vast majority of Americans agree that estate plans are important elements to planning the future of both you and your family members, relatively few among us have taken the time to form a valid estate plan. According to a survey from Caring.com, approximately only 33% of adults in the United States have legal documents for their end-of-life plans. Thankfully, these numbers have been going up in recent years, but still, that number is far too low.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the older someone gets, the more likely they are to have an estate plan. However, estate plans are for all ages. This is something that many estate law attorneys have struggled to convey to millennials and other young people, who lag far behind their elders in estate planning.

Of the estate plans established in the U.S., more than 70% of estate planning documents are wills, about 18% are trusts, and fewer than 10% have to do with guardianships. While a little over 30% of Americans have a last will and testament, that number is very low, all things considered.

Among the chief concerns in estate planning is ensuring that our families don’t have to go through additional legal troubles during the probate process while they are still grieving our deaths. One of the ways to ensure this does not happen is to draft a comprehensive estate plan with carefully worded language under the supervision and legal guidance of a professional estate law attorney.

At our law firm, we have years of experience representing numerous types of estate planning cases, and we would be proud to lend our legal assistance to you as you begin the formation of your estate plan. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

What Are the Key Components of Almost Every Estate Plan?

While the center of nearly every estate plan is a will, that is not necessarily where things should begin or end.

Consider drafting a durable power of attorney document. If you are ever incapacitated due to illness or injury, this document can allow your designated agent to act on your behalf while you are unable to speak for yourself. Their authorized responsibilities include handling financial decisions, paying bills, and more. In these days of pandemics, rising auto accident rates, and other dangers, one can never be sure of anything. It is worth it to take the time to plan for the unexpected.

Similar to a durable power of attorney, which allows your agent to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated, a medical power of attorney (also known as a health care proxy or health care directive) allows a designated individual to make decisions on your behalf regarding your medical care, according to your wishes.

Certain trusts may be valuable to you, depending on your circumstances. If, for example, you have a child or other dependent who has unique needs, you may consider a special needs trust.

Make sure to name your intended beneficiaries. If you do not name a beneficiary, there exists a chance that they may not inherit estate assets after you die. If there is no will, the courts will decide who inherits what.

Why Should You Have an Estate Plan When You’re in Your 20s or 30s?

While it is true that younger people have different estate planning concerns than their elders, that does not necessarily mean that their concerns are fewer or less important. What if you were in an accident? What if you got sick? Does your family know how to properly handle your affairs, or do they know what your wishes are? Don’t leave these matters in question.

Estate plan tools that you may consider in your 20s and 30s include a will, a durable power of attorney, an advanced healthcare directive, and potentially a trust.

What is the Importance of an Estate Plan in Your 40s and 50s?

In addition to the considerations addressed in your 20s and 30s, middle-aged Floridians should also begin estate planning for their years when they’re no longer part of the workforce.

Estate plan tools to consider in your 40s and 50s include retirement planning and long-term care insurance. Additionally, if your circumstances or your family unit have changed since your 20s and 30s, it would be time to begin updating your will and beneficiaries.

How Can Estate Plans Protect Your Legacy and Look After Your Heir’s Futures?

While we hope that you have many years ahead of you, now is the time to begin planning how to protect your legacy and ensure that your loved ones are cared for with the help of your estate assets after you are gone. Consider adding a revocable living trust to your estate plan to help avoid probate for certain assets.

When is it Time to Modify Your Existing Estate Plan?

Regardless of your age, it is important that you keep your estate plan up to date with your life and the people you keep close to you. Say, for example, you come into a great deal of wealth in your 30s or 40s. It would then be time to update the will that you originally drafted in your 20s. Similarly, if you now have children, it’s time to make sure that they are named beneficiaries in your estate plan directives. Also, if you’ve gone through a divorce, you want to ensure that your estate plan documentation no longer names your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Miami Estate Planning Attorney

Ultimately, the answer to the question posed here is that you should begin estate planning right away. There is no such thing as starting too early or too soon. But remember, sometimes we wait until it’s too late. It’s easier to put things off until tomorrow – but what if tomorrow never comes?

We don’t know what the future holds, and having some of these estate plan documents in place can help us sleep easier, knowing that our future and the future of our loved ones are being taken care of.

If you are interested in forming an estate plan, please get in touch with our law firm to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at 305-570-3259.

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