Many people think of estate planning as something that wealthy, ill or aging individuals do. These aren’t the only times you engage in estate planning, though. Life is often unpredictable. Documenting your final wishes is appropriate at all stages of life — even when you’re just getting started with life.
In fact, there are several stages of young adulthood where it is appropriate and wise to either make your estate plans or revise them:
When you reach adulthood
Your parents generally have a right to make medical decisions on your behalf up until you turn 18. Unless you take time to sign a health care power of attorney once you reach adulthood, however, then your doctors may be unable to relay vital health information to your loved ones should a medical crisis occur.
When you start a new career
Part of the estate planning process is making sure that your 401(k) and life insurance beneficiary designations align with your preferences. You could cause your loved ones many problems if you were to pass away unexpectedly without having first sorted this out.
When you form new relationships
You should also reengage in estate planning when you purchase property with someone else or get married. One of the most important things that you’ll want to do is draft a will. If you and your partner list yourselves as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, then you’ll be able to more seamlessly pass your property rights on to your surviving spouse if you pass away. You must revisit any beneficiary designation forms to ensure that they reflect your current final wishes.
When you have a child
The birth of a child may also warrant you revisiting your estate plan. You’ll need to decide who you’d like to step in as your child’s guardian if something were to happen to you. You may also want to learn more about trusts and how setting one allows you to cover your child’s future financial needs.
How an estate planning attorney can help
There are many different options readily available to individuals looking to draft wills nowadays. Changing designation forms for 401(k) accounts or life insurance policies often involves a simple customer service call. You may think that you don’t need to get an estate planning attorney involved as a result. The truth is that there are both positive and negative implications associated with making certain choices. A Sioux Falls attorney can advise you of the pros and cons of taking action in your unique situation here in South Dakota.