Some people start thinking of getting a will in place when children arrive on the scene so guardians are named. Most people start thinking about planning their estates when they reach retirement age. However, you might be surprised, even shocked, to know that the best time to plan your estate is at age 18. The second best time to plan your estate is right now.
Age 18? My 18-Year-Old Doesn’t Have An Estate!
Most 18-year-olds don’t have significant assets, but what they do have is legal status as an adult. That means parents are no longer able to make health care and financial decisions – or access college records – without written legal authorization.
Babies? Are Babies Considered an Estate?
Children (and your spouse) are likely the most important part of your estate. And, yes, when you have babies, you absolutely need an estate plan. Here’s why: without your written legal instruction, the court will decide who raises your children if you become incapacitated or die. If you think the court will pick who you’d select, you could be horribly wrong. And, without your written legal instruction, the court will mandate that your assets be distributed via your state’s intestacy laws, not by your choice.
Besides, you have a responsibility to provide for your children – that means assets to get them launched into the world as well as the love and guidance of people who will do their best to raise them. You certainly don’t need family members fighting over the kids or, worse, no one willing to take them so they end up in foster care.
The assets you leave for your children need to be protected from creditors, taxes, and the kids themselves – no child is well served by inheriting a boat load of money at age 18. The guardians need guidance as well – what do you want for your kids’ education, activities, medical care, extended family and friends, religion or spirituality, worldview, etc.? All these considerations are part of estate planning.
Every Other Age
When you’re age 17 or younger, you’re covered by your parents’ estate plan. Once you hit legal adulthood, it’s time to step up and take care of business yourself. If you want to have any say in what happens to you, your family, and your assets, you need written instructions and those instructions are called an estate plan.
You can do important things like documenting how you want things to go if you suffer a health crisis or die. We’ll help you appoint trusted helpers and protect assets – heck – you can even protect your dog. You have a lot of power now – you’ll have no power later, without a written legally enforceable plan.
Get ‘Er Done Now
Today’s the day to call our office and get on the calendar so we can get you, your children and other loved ones, and your assets protected. Estate planning is way more important than you can even imagine. Just recently I was helping a child who was accidentally disinherited by his parents. Imagine the upset, anger, despair, and bewilderment. A parent had gotten remarried and put assets in joint names… Tragic. Don’t let something horrid like that happen to someone you love. Call our office now, we’ll get you in.