Many people feel as though estate planning is not the realm of the young, but the reality is that this is not the case at all. Now one knows what the future holds, and as they say on ESPN “we are all day to day.” Hopefully you will live a long, healthy and prosperous life, but we all read about people passing away in accidents and due to unexpected catastrophic illnesses all the time, and there are no guarantees. So in a very real sense it could be suggested that the time to start planning your estate is going to coincide with the time when you become a fully self-supporting adult in your own right.
To take this to another level, when you get married estate planning becomes that much more important. After all, someone that you love is relying on you and it is very likely that the combined income that you have as a couple is necessary to maintain your quality of life. This is why life insurance is a must as soon as someone is depending on your income, and it is also important for young married people to have advance health care directives in place.
When you have children estate planning becomes absolutely essential. You must ratchet up your insurance coverage, make sure that a guardian has been selected should you and your spouse pass away together in an accident, and once again advance health care directives are an important component. At this point in your life you may also start to develop a long-term plan for your retirement and many people will start to take this more seriously and diligently contribute to individual retirement accounts.
Along the way you may have additional children, you may get divorced, you may remarry, you may acquire a significant amount of wealth, and any number of life-changing events may take place. All of the above would require an estate plan adjustment, and this is why it is so important to understand that estate planning is an ongoing process. It is a good idea to develop a communicative relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney that you feel comfortable with early in your life and make regular estate plan reviews part of your annual agenda.
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