The average adult doesn’t have an estate plan. Even people who know that they want to have an estate plan and who see the value in creating one may still put off making that effort. As a result, most Americans have not done so, statistically speaking.
One of the reasons that people give for this failure to plan is that they think they’re too young to start this process. They think they don’t need the estate plan until after they retire or if they move into a nursing home. They assume that an estate plan won’t help them at their age, so they just procrastinate until they’re older. Are they right to do so?
A plan can help as soon as someone becomes an adult
You are allowed to make an estate plan once you turn 18. So, technically speaking, you can start benefitting from having this legal protection in place as soon as you reach adulthood.
One thing to consider is that you can use that plan to make future medical decisions. You never know if you’ll be incapacitated due to a disease, injuries from a car accident or some other trauma. Unexpected illness or injury can happen at any age, so it’s best to have a medical plan in place. For instance, you could use an advance directive to tell doctors what types of treatment you want and you could use a medical power of attorney to allow an agent to make any decisions not covered in that directive on your behalf.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can always update your estate plan. People are sometimes worried that the plan they make today won’t reflect the realities of their financial situation near the end of their life. But that’s fine, because you can just make periodic updates as your life changes. For example, estate planning for young parents often focuses on their children. They will set up guardianship and trusts, for instance. But once those children have grown up and moved out of the house, planning becomes more about distributing assets. It’s not that someone is too young, but just that the focus of the estate planning process often evolves as someone ages.
Have you not yet made your plan? It’s important to take the time to consider all of the legal options you can utilize. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.