When Should I Start Estate Planning?

Estate Planning Blog

Have you ever considered what will happen to your assets when you’re gone? It may not be the most pleasant topic of conversation, but it’s extremely important to think about, especially as you get closer and closer to retirement. An estate plan ensures that your wishes are met, your assets are properly distributed, and your family doesn’t have to go through the unpleasant process of probate. But it isn’t always easy to know when to begin. There are a variety of factors that go into estate plans, from asset protection long-term care costs. Fortunately, the estate planning professionals at O’Leary Law Office can help you form a comprehensive estate plan that prepares you for all possibilities. Learn all about beginning an estate plan below!

When should I start an estate plan?

While there’s no set age for when you should start estate planning, experts agree that you should establish one once you reach the age of 18, and update it every three to five years. However, if you haven’t started one yet, there’s no time like the present. Whether you’re the sole provider for a family, or are just striking out on your own, it’s important to have an estate plan established to ensure your wishes are met. 

Many younger people don’t consider estate planning because they don’t have many assets– but that shouldn’t stop them. An estate plan helps your loved ones cover the funerary and leftover costs, in addition to ensuring they have access to your bank account, home, belongings, and any other important financial information. 

As you grow closer to the age of retirement, an estate plan becomes all the more important. Without a comprehensive plan in place, your loved ones may be stuck in court for a long time trying to gain access to your records and assets. An estate plan lets you detail exactly what you’re leaving to whom, and your wishes for when you’re gone. 

What does an estate plan do?

There are a variety of functions an estate plan performs, from protecting your wishes to keeping your family out of court. However, there are three functions that are absolutely crucial to any estate plan:

An estate plan protects your assets

Getting old is expensive. From monthly medications to long-term care costs, the bill for aging grows daily. An estate plan can protect your finances long term, reduce the amount of wait time for disbursement, and make sure your assets are distributed to the right people. 

An estate plan lets you detail inheritance

A large part of an estate plan is your will. In a will, you can inventory and allocate your assets, name beneficiaries, and establish an executor who will see your wishes met. 

An estate plan lets you choose who makes decisions

Another crucial part of an estate plan is creating a durable power of attorney and a healthcare proxy. These appointed positions will make decisions and work on your behalf in the event that you are no longer able or are incapacitated. 

How do I start an estate plan?

By merely reading through this blog, you’ve already started! The first step in estate planning is understanding how important it is, and beginning to consider it. Once you’ve realized that you need an estate plan, you can work on the next steps:

  • Speak with an estate planning attorney- An estate planning attorney will be absolutely invaluable in estate planning and getting ready for your future. They work with you throughout the entire process, from calculating your worth to appointing a power of attorney. They can answer any questions you may have, advise you on the best route to take, and make sure everything is established and legally sound. 
  • Calculate your net worth- The next step will be to calculate your overall net worth by creating a comprehensive list of your financial assets, property, and any liabilities you may have. 
  • Name beneficiaries- Once you’ve compiled a list of your assets, it’s time to name your beneficiaries who will inherit your assets when you’re gone. This can be as many or as few people as you’d like, and they don’t have to split everything equally. You can expand on inheritance in your will.
  • Be prepared to update your estate plan- Things can change quickly, and without warning. Perhaps you get that big promotion or decide to move across the country, you need to be comfortable with updating your estate plan to reflect any big changes.

O’Leary Law Office’s Circleville estate planning attorney

Estate planning can be extremely stressful, from asset inventories to beneficiaries. Fortunately, the Circleville estate planning attorney at O’Leary Law Office can help. We work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan that will protect your assets and help provide for your family and loved ones. If you need assistance estate planning in Circleville, contact O’Leary Law Office today.