When Should You Create an Estate Plan?

Contrary to what some believe, estate planning is not only for older individuals. Even if you are young and do not feel that you have many assets yet, it is always a good time to create your estate plan. It is important to note that you can update your estate plan after creating one.

What Are the Best Times to Create an Estate Plan?

While there is no bad time to create your estate plan, there are several major life events after which you should seriously consider creating and/or updating your estate plan. Some of these life events include the following:

  • You have recently gotten married
  • You have recently had a child/children
  • You have recently purchased a home
  • You have recently experienced an increase in your income

Why You Should Care About Estate Planning

There are many reasons why creating or updating your estate plan should be on your to-do list. Several reasons include:

  • You want to decide who makes health related decisions for you should you become incapable of doing so on your own
  • You want to decide who will handle your finances following your death
  • You want to decide who will take care of your minor children in the event of your death
  • You want to decide which assets get passed on to which individuals following your death
  • You want to decide who should take care of your pets following your death
  • You want to outline how your end of life care should be handled
  • You want to protect your digital assets following your death

Health Decisions

Even if you do not have any health issues now, as we age, we often develop health ailments. In the case of many older individuals, these health ailments can be life-threatening, and wind up requiring a hospital visit.

Unfortunately, it is possible that you may also become impaired as the result of an accident. This highlights the need to outline who should be making your health decisions should you lose the ability to do so on your own (otherwise referred to as Medical Power of Attorney).

Financial Decisions

Should you become incapacitated in any form, you will need a trusted person to pay your bills, mortgage and handle various other financial matters.

Much like the individual named in the Medical Power of Attorney handles your health related decisions, the person you name in your Financial Power of Attorney will handle your finances when you become unable to handle them on your own.

Caring for Minor Children

Should you pass away before any of your children turn 18 years old, these children will need a legal guardian. If you do not select someone yourself, the state will decide what happens to your children.

Passing on Your Assets

When creating an estate plan, you can also decide to whom you would like your assets to go following your passing. If you do not decide on this, your assets will end up being distributed in court.

Caring for Pets

As with minor children, it is advisable that you name someone to take care of any pets should you no longer be able to do so on your own.

End of Life Care Decisions

End of life care decisions can be complicated. However, it is a great idea to decide how you want to be cared for when the time comes. This includes deciding aspects such as:

  • Would you want to remain on life support should it be required?
  • What type of funeral would you want?
  • Do you want to be buried, cremated or have your body handled in a different manner following your death?
  • Do you want to donate your organs following your death?

Protecting Your Digital Assets

Digital assets such as cryptocurrency and NFTs are on the rise. It is in your best interest to decide how these assets should be handled upon your death.

As you can tell from the above information, creating or updating your estate plan can ensure that you are cared for in a desirable manner and that your assets get passed on to the people you want to have them.

For assistance creating or updating your estate plan, contact us today. To learn more about various estate planning and elder law matters, view our resources page here.

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About the Author

Alyssa Marie Monteleon, Esq.

Alyssa Marie Monteleon is an elder law and estate planning attorney at the Monteleon Law Group, PLLC with offices in New York and Virginia. For more information, please visit www.monteleonlaw.com or call (914) 840-2529.

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