"Death and taxes are the only two certainties in life," as the old saying goes. While we can't control when we'll pass away, we can plan for it to ensure our loved ones are taken care of and our assets are distributed according to our wishes. That's where estate planning comes in. But when should estate planning begin?
The answer is simple: as soon as possible. As soon as you start working and accumulating assets, such as a car, savings account, or retirement investments, you should begin estate planning. Regardless of your age or financial status, estate planning is something that everyone needs to consider. Estate planning enables you to specify precisely how you want your assets to be distributed after your death, ensuring your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of.
The Importance of Keeping Estate Planning Documents Updated
Estate planning is not a one-time event. Life changes, and so do your estate planning needs. Whether it's marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, a death in the family, or a relocation, these significant life changes can impact how you want your assets distributed after your death. It's crucial to keep your estate documents up to date and review them regularly to ensure that they accurately reflect your current wishes.
Even if you have an estate planning tool set up, like a trust, it's important to remember that you have to fund the trust. Establishing a trust is just the first step. You need to have a plan in place to transfer your assets to the trust to ensure that they will be distributed according to your wishes. Additionally, if you move to a different state, you may need to reestablish your trust in that state. Failing to update and correctly set up your estate documents can result in assets being distributed according to state law, which may not align with your wishes.
Hire an Experienced Attorney for Estate Planning
Given the complexity and importance of estate planning, it's best to seek the advice of a skilled attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the process, ensuring that your wishes are carried out exactly as you intended. An attorney can also help you choose the best estate planning tool for your unique needs and goals and can ensure that your estate planning documents are up-to-date.
Remember, estate planning is not a one-time task but a lifelong commitment to protecting your loved ones and preserving your legacy. So, start early, stay vigilant, and consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your estate planning documents are always accurate and aligned with your wishes.