Many people think that estate planning is something to start thinking about only after getting older or once you have accumulated a lot of assets. But the truth is, smart estate planning starts when you are young. There are many ways to protect your assets, establish a plan for your future estate, as well as protect your own interests while you are still living. And the best plans are those that begin now. Here are smart tips for getting your estate in order, no matter what your age may be.
Starting at age 18
As soon as you turn 18 you become a legal adult, which means legal decisions regarding healthcare and finances are now your responsibility. Since your parents cannot help without your written consent, it is important to have an attorney prepare some key documents, especially before heading off to college.
- Power of attorney – designates someone to make healthcare or financial decisions for you if you cannot
- Living will – document specifies which healthcare procedures they do or do not want if they were to become terminally ill or in a vegetative state.
In your 20s – 30s
As you get older, you will likely begin to accumulate more assets. Additionally, this is typically the time that people start to grow their families. Estate planning in these years could include the following
- Prepare a will – this essential document designates how to distribute your assets if you pass, as well as who should take legal responsibility for your children if necessary. You will specify an executor, who is a responsible person that you trust to carry out the directives in your will. Without a will, the courts will make these important decisions on your behalf.
- Set up a trust – this is a legal agreement in which a trustee holds the rights to a portion of your assets, which will eventually be distributed to its beneficiary. There are many different types of trusts, each with their own benefits. Your attorney can help you decide which trust will provide the best of asset protection for you and your heirs.
In your 40s and beyond
As you get older, it is a good idea to continually review the estate planning documents you have in place and revise as necessary. Additionally, this is the perfect time to talk to your parents to make sure they have completed their estate documents. Make sure you understand their wishes and directives, especially if you have been named as the executor of their estate.
Estate planning at every age
No matter your age, the qualified attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Hamilton & Van Donselaar, Ltd can guide you through each stage in your life and help to ensure you have the proper legal protection in place for you and your loved ones. We have been counseling our clients for decades and are dedicated to providing the individualized attention your family needs. Contact our Grayslake office at 847-223-1500 to learn more or to schedule a consultation.