Estate planning is something that most Americans know they should do but they continue to put it off. It’s a task that can be unpleasant for some people; after all, you’ll be planning what will happen to your estate after you pass away, and thinking about your own death can be a difficult thing to do. But it’s an important task. Without proper estate planning, you could end up placing more stress on the friends and family members who you leave behind during their time of grief. Additionally, without estate planning, they could end up with less of your estate and be forced to pay more of it to the government. So while it can be an uncomfortable task to take on, it’s one that’s done for the good of your family and friends.
But when should you start estate planning? It’s a question that our financial advisor in Absecon is asked a lot. As people start to consider their retirement they often start to think about their estate planning needs as well. Is that the right time to make these important plans?
Actually, the best time for estate planning was yesterday.
Why Estate Planning Should Happen As Soon As Possible
It’s never too early to begin estate planning. That’s because, as difficult as it might be to face, there is no guarantee that you are going to live until your retirement years. If the worst happens and you end up passing away while you are still working, the right estate planning can protect your family and ensure that they will be taken care of after you are gone. That means estate planning can happen as early as your 20’s when you have assets such as a car and potentially a home as well as a family who likely depends on your income to survive. Taking on the task of planning your estate when you are younger can help give you experience and knowledge that can be handy when making big financial plans in the future, too.
But even if you left your 20’s behind decades ago, now is still a good time to do estate planning. It really doesn’t matter what age you are; getting a plan in place will give both you and your loved ones’ peace of mind.
Estate planning isn’t just for the rich, either. Even if your only asset is your checking account, you can put a plan in place about what you’d like to have done with the balance of that checking account in the event of your death. While it might seem unnecessary to create a plan for just a few assets, think about the people that you’ll be leaving behind. Having a plan in place can take the burden off of them, prevent fighting between your loved ones, and give them more space to grieve their loss.
What To Consider When Planning Your Estate
No matter what age you are, you’ll want to take into account all of your assets when planning your estate. These can include:
- Insurance policies
- Retirement Accounts
- Real Estate
- Items of financial or emotional value
- This can include collections, personal belongings, antiques, vehicles, and anything else of material or emotional worth
Estate planning will involve determining what you want to be done with all of these assets in case of your death. Do you want them liquidated and the cash distributed among your family members? Do you want everything to go to one person? Or should your cousin get your baseball card collection?
But it’s not just the material things that matter when it comes to estate planning. You’ll also want to make decisions such as:
- Who will care for your dependents? This could include minor children or elderly relatives who are in your care.
- Who will make medical decisions on your behalf? In the case where you are unable to make choices for yourself, you’ll want to designate someone who can make medical decisions for you. You can outline your wishes as a part of the estate planning process.
- Who will make sure your estate planning wishes are carried out? This will be the executor of your estate, and it can be a spouse, family member, lawyer, or even a trusted member of your religious beliefs. They will be in charge of making sure your final wishes are carried out.
How to Get Started With Estate Planning
If you’ve decided to start the process of estate planning, there are a few things that you can do to make the process easier for yourself:
- Work with a professional. Having a professional help you with your estate planning can make the entire process a lot easier. There are a lot of small details that you’ll need to consider, and it’s easy to overlook them when you are doing it yourself. A pro can help you consider all of the aspects of estate planning and develop a plan that covers every scenario.
- Focus on how it’s going to help. It’s easier to get through the process of estate planning if you focus on how it will help your loved ones instead of the fact that it will only go into effect if you die. The benefits of a good plan are huge, and your loved ones will be thankful that you thought ahead on their behalf and wanted to take care of them even after you were gone.
- Don’t dwell on it. Once the plan is in place, take the peace of mind that you get from it and then move on. Don’t dwell on the fact that you have a plan for your death and don’t constantly remind your loved ones that it’s there. Feel good that you have a plan and then look for other financial planning opportunities that you can take on.
Looking for Help With Financial and Estate Planning?
Protect & Preserve, Inc. offers financial planning advice to people of all ages. We can also connect you with qualified professionals who can help with your estate planning needs in Absecon as well. Once the process is done, you’ll be glad that you did it and feel good about thinking ahead on behalf of your family and friends. It’s never too early to get started! Get in touch with our team for a free no-obligation consultation about our services and how they can help you. Give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to working with you to create financial plans that help you meet your goals and take care of the loved ones in your life!