According to a recently conducted survey, only 4 out of 10 U.S. adults (age 18 and over) have a will or living trust. The survey also revealed that there are primarily two reasons behind such a low rate, i.e.,
● Most youngsters believe that estate planning is something that needs to be done after retirement. Or,
● They don’t have enough assets to get a will.
However, they don’t know that it is not just about leaving your property to somebody after your death. It has numerous benefits at different stages of life. It is evident that the objective of a college graduate will be entirely different from a retired person. Therefore, their planning will also be different.
Nonetheless, the crucial aspect here is- Understanding the elements of an estate plan according to your age and needs. That being said, let’s learn more!
● During College Or After Graduation
For a newbie college student or graduate, estate planning is probably not on the priority list. However, as you have crossed the age of 18, you have become an adult in the eyes of the law. Thus, there are some crucial documents that you do need, regardless of your personal assets. These are:
● Durable power of attorney (POA) for “Finances.”
● Durable power of attorney (POA) for “Healthcare.”
● Updated beneficiaries on all accounts.
These documents give your parents the right to manage your finances if you are unable to do so on your own. Similarly, these will also provide them with the right to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Also, adding the name of beneficiaries on your saving or retirement accounts will allow you to transfer your account in the event of death. The beneficiaries could be anybody, your parents, sibling, or any other close person.
● Getting Married
When you get married, the estate planning process gets a bit complex. Now you have a loving partner, and obviously, you want nothing but the best for them. In addition to this, you need to make a few changes to your existing documents. Generally, the documents that need to be updated include:
● Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
● Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
● Updated beneficiaries on all accounts
● Life insurance
● Advance Directive
You need to merge your estate plans and accounts. Also, you need to add the name of your spouse as the primary beneficiary and fiduciary. It will ensure that your spouse is financially stable after you are gone. Similarly, it becomes essential to have a life insurance policy so that your partner doesn’t have to worry about the sudden change in lifestyle or the cost of living.
In addition to this, you also need to create an advance directive (also known as a living will). These directives will include information about your medical care. Just like Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, these will also give your partner the right to make decisions about your treatment on your behalf.
● Family Planning
Generally, most people begin estate planning when they are expecting a new member of the family. It is obvious that you’d want the best for your child. Estate planning is just one of those best things that you can do.
You need to start with the documents already mentioned above and include a guardian in the list as well. As it is about your child’s future, it would be best if you take advice from an attorney.
Moreover, the laws governing and validating the estate planning documents vary from state to state. In simple terms, The Woodland (Texas) laws will be different from the Vegas (Nevada).
So, if you decide to move to The Woodlands, you need to upgrade all the documents accordingly. In such a scenario, you must look for the best estate planning attorney in The Woodlands Texas, having expertise in the field. They can help you create a plan and advise you about different types of trusts. This will also give you peace of mind that your kid will be stable, even if you are not there.
In addition to this, you also need to designate a guardian for your kid. The person selected will be responsible for the kid’s education, health, and overall well-being in your absence. That’s why you must not take this decision in any hurry. Select the person who has the best interest of your child in their heart.
● Getting Retired
Life after retirement might look easy-going; however, it is filled with responsibilities. By this time, your kids will be grown up and probably settled in their own life. Who knows, maybe they are working on their own estate planning.
Nonetheless, retirement is also the time when you need to make a well-informed decision to transfer your assets. If you have two or more kids, you need to decide what to give and to whom. Undoubtedly, it isn’t going to be an easy decision, but you have to make one. Otherwise, the estate will be settled with the help of probate.
Probate is a legal process in which the court will evaluate your assets. It is a long process and might take more than 8-9 months to complete. The court will consider all your documents, assets and debts, and will distribute your estate accordingly.
Getting involved in the court procedures would probably be the last thing you want for your family. That’s the reason why you should create a will or a trust. It will help you build a legacy as a beneficiary. Moreover, you can update the trust along with time. It is a great way to ensure the stability of your loved ones. Even so, you should take advice from the attorney.
To Sum It All Up!
Now that you have understood all about estate planning, you might agree that it is better to start planning as early as possible. Nonetheless, keep in mind to update your beneficiaries and account from time to time. Also, don’t take any decision in any rush or hurry. Always consult your attorney. They can advise the best possible solutions for the benefit of all.