At what age should you make an estate plan?
People of different ages and different stages of their lives need different things from their estate planning. Younger adults have fewer assets and more debts and need to plan for things like dependent children. Older adults generally have more assets and fewer debts, but often have children who are old enough to care for themselves. Many times, younger adults may do estate planning focused on what will happen to their children if they die while the children are still minors. Those same adults may later redo their estate plan when they are ready to retire and think about planning for long term care and other events that may happen at a later age.
Should I make different estate plans for different stages of life?
The short answer to this question is "No." It is possible to make an estate plan so flexible that it can protect you throughout your life. A good estate plan must protect you and your loved ones, while also planning for contingencies that can happen to anyone. You can have an estate plan that envisions all of the following at the same time:
- Young children who need a guardian if you pass away
- A disability that strikes you or your spouse later in life
- A car accident in which you become unable to care for yourself
- A child who has a disability now or develops one before you pass away
- A child-free life wherein you need to protect yourself and your spouse
- Winning the lottery at age 40
In fact, there are many other things you can plan for, and it's never too early to start. If you get a "simple" estate plan because you are young and don't have much, you'll only have to pay more money later to redo that plan. If you instead get an estate plan that is more complex even when you're young and don't have much yet, you won't have to redo that plan in the future due to your changing assets and needs.
Talk to an elder law attorney to learn how to plan ahead at any time.
An elder law attorney can help you with your estate planning and asset protection at any stage of your life - not just when you are older! The best time to plan is now. Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your unique situation with an attorney.