When it comes to estate planning, there is no time like the present (so long as you’re a legal adult). According to financial experts, the best time to make an estate plan is when you are of legal age at eighteen years old. That said, a lot of eighteen-year-olds haven’t thought twice about heading off to a lawyer’s office to set up an estate plan.
It makes sense, as these teens usually don’t have many assets, and they are often confused about the purpose of estate planning. Most people think of a last will and testament when they think of estate planning, not realizing that there is so much more to it. Let us, in this article, try to convince you to set up an estate plan, no matter what assets you do or don’t have.
What If I Have No Assets?
If you’re low on cash and other assets, don’t worry—so are a lot of Americans. As of 2023, 60% of Americans, including 40% of high-income consumers, live paycheck to paycheck. With the rising cost of living, that’s just how things are for many people.
Estate planning is about so much more than bequeathing assets (though that is an important part, of course). You can use it to set up guardianship papers, manage end-of-life healthcare, and set up a financial decision-maker if you become too incapacitated to handle your own affairs. It doesn’t matter what assets you do or don’t have—this legal field can help anyone.
Other Times to Set Up an Estate Plan
There are plenty of other times to set up an estate plan. Here are some prime opportunities you don’t want to miss:
· New Family Members. If you have kids or grandkids entering the family, that could be a good time to set up an estate plan.
· Savings Accounts. You’ll want to determine who will get your savings account if you die—that’s a good time to start an estate plan.
· Property Ownership. When you buy a home or land, that is a major asset to consider.
· Marriage. Getting married means that you are combining your assets.
· Traveling. If you’re going on a big trip, it is important to ensure you have healthcare directives, guardianship papers, and more set up.
· Inheritance. If you inherit something, that is a major asset that needs to be secured.
· Starting A Business. Estate planning can help you secure your business’ future and protect your assets.
Additionally, it is important to set up guardianship after you have a child, as you want to make sure your chosen guardian is there to step up if something happens. When
you amass more assets, it could be a good idea to then start a trust, which will move some of them into safe keeping for your future beneficiaries.
When To Update Your Estate Plan
So, you’ve made an estate plan, now what? The rule of thumb states that you should go back and update and review it every three to five years. You can go back earlier if you experience a major life change, such as marriage, divorce, new births, new assets, and more. It’s important to keep your estate plan up to date, lest something happen and yours does not reflect your current situation.
There are a lot of milestones and markers when it comes to estate planning, and you should set one up, if you haven’t. Contact a WFP attorney today and explain your financial situation. He or she will be able to help you determine which estate planning tools and documents are right for you.