Too young to think about estate planning
So here it is…..I am going to admit to my age. I am 36 years old, some would say this is a young pup. If you were to ask my daughters they would say that I am “old” I guess age is in the eye of the beholder. One thought that I certainly had for a long time was that I was much too young to consider estate planning. Estate Planning is something that we tend to market to anyone who is approaching their retirement years. While that is an important milestone, there are many other milestones along our lifetime in which we should really sit down and have the uncomfortable conversation of estate planning. A note to readers….estate planning is uncomfortable regardless of your age.
So what is the magical age that we should begin our estate planning process? Well, those who know me, know I am famous for the saying “it depends”. I will say that again here today…it depends, there are so many reasons why you may need to consider estate planning that have nothing to do with your age at all.
Assets: You may need to consider estate planning if you own some assets that will not flow directly to a spouse upon death. Think about that home that you may have purchased on your own or investment plan that you have been saving in since you were in your early twenties. You should take the time to think about where you would like these assets to go if something were to happen to you. Not only should you consider where you would like them to go….but how you want them distributed as well. Maybe you have a charity you would like to leave something to, or a favorite niece or nephew (don’t worry we wont tell) The point is, without a will and an estate plan your family will not know what your wishes were.
Family: Perhaps you have recently gotten married (congratulations!) or have a new family (even more congratulations!) This is a perfect time to consider how you would like your family taken care of if something were to happen unexpectedly. If your children are minors, this is when proper planning will be most helpful, with early planning you can ensure that your legacy takes care of your family for many years to come. The main thing to keep in mind with a young family is that if something were to happen to you, your family will be lost without you….there will be so many things to do, checklists to complete, paperwork to cause confusion and so on. The last thing they will need is the added stress and complications from not having a will with instructions on how you wanted your family taken care of.
Changes: This could be the opposite of the paragraph above. As the years go on, life changes. This can be in the form of divorce, failed friendships and family feuds, without keeping your estate plan up to date throughout the years you may leave a legacy to someone you don’t even like anymore! Now, if this isn’t a reason to haunt someone…. I don’t know what is! This can work the other way too, maybe you have a family member you have become really close to, or a new love in your life but you are not married, you can even have a new friend in your life that you would like to leave a little something to. The point is that without regular estate planning you may miss these types of changes, sometimes we remember to update for the people we don’t like…..but forget about the new people that we do like.
Hopefully one of these points will resonate with you no matter your age, however if you are on the younger age scale I do hope that you will consider starting the process of estate planning as there are so many other great reasons why getting a head start on your estate plan will help you sleep at night!