Some people feel as though estate planning is something that they don’t have to worry about until they reach an advanced age, but the reality is that this is really not the case. Estate planning becomes relevant to you as soon as you become a self-supporting adult who is responsible for your own life and decision-making. However, once you get married and have one or more people relying on your income, estate planning becomes an absolute must.
If you were to pass away suddenly due to an accident or catastrophic illness and your paycheck was to disappear, would your family be able to maintain their quality of living? Most people would say no, and this is why it is so important to have adequate life insurance in place. As your expenses rise and your family grows, you must continually revisit your coverage to make sure that it matches the current financial responsibilities of your family.
Many people recognize the fact that retirement planning is a natural extension of estate planning, so it is never too soon to get started planning for your retirement. If you have been following the recent news cycle you are aware of the fact that the budget deficit is a big issue in Washington. Given the cost cutting mood the future of these programs is uncertain, even though retirement may seem like a long way off the onus is on you to be proactive about making sure that you are personally prepared when the time comes. A good estate planning attorney can help you get your legal documents in order, and often can refer you to a good financial planner and investment adviser who can help you with the financial aspects of planning for retirement.
The issue of guardianship is something to consider as well when you are a young parent. If you and your spouse were to pass away together in a car accident, who would care for your children? How would you provide financially for their care? How will the money be handled for them, and who will be responsible?
If you fail to plan for such an eventuality, state law requires a probate court guardianship for your children and their money. The court decides and controls who will parent your children and control the money you leave for them. Because this is a probate proceeding, it carries all the excess baggage of probate.
The matter of caring for minor children after your death is the most important estate planning. estate planning now — before a crisis — assures the care for your children that you would want. You can even avoid a guardianship for your children’s money with a living trust set up while you are living.
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