When should you start thinking about estate planning?
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
The simple answer is, “right now.” The more complicated question is, “What kind of estate planning do I need for where I am in life?”
Doing "estate planning" doesn't mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars on documents that you don't understand, or quite frankly, that you don't need. There are stages of estate planning and, at least with me, your estate plan is meant to start out where you are today, and be altered as life happens.
When I tell people that I practice estate planning, they either say, “I need to do that” and then put it off, or “I’m not that old, but I’ll call you when I get there.” Here is a quick list of questions you can ask yourself to see if you need to do some estate planning:
1. Are you married?
Marriage alters the intestate laws (rules that govern what happens when people die without a valid will). If you wish to make gifts to people outside of your marriage, you need to do some estate planning.
2. Do you have minor children?
Doing some estate planning can help you nominate guardians for your minor children in the event you pass away while they are still a minor. You can establish trusts for the benefit of your children and continue to provide for them in your absence.
3. Do you have children or a beneficiary that struggles to manage their finances?
Just imagine, what would you have done at 18 if you had come into any type of inheritance? Would you have spent it on college? I'm not sure that I would have been responsible with any sizable inheritance at 18. In fact, the song "Buy me a boat" by Chris Janson comes immediately to mind. Estate planning can help create ways to pass your assets to your beneficiaries in a way that benefits their lives and not the closest car dealership.
4. Do you own a home or any real estate?
Get ready for probate! Without doing any estate planning, passing the legal title to your property is going to require permission from the court which may be delayed and add costs that are generally avoidable if you had taken care of it now.
5. Do you care who gets what and who manages it when you’re gone?
If not, then you probably aren’t reading this.
Crafting an estate plan is about making choices now that will benefit others in the future. It will remove some of the stress because you will have a plan in place for when the worst happens. If you are interested in learning about what to consider and what type of planning you should be doing, contact me at 435-777-4740 for a free consultation.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be right!
Nothing in this blog post is meant to convey legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. I am only licensed to practice law in the State of Utah.