Okay, you just hit 40 and you’re thinking about what your life will be like now that you are middle-aged. You better start thinking about retirement. Your children will need money to go to college one day.
So, you’re not even considering the possibility of estate planning because that’s something that you do when you’re old, like in your 60s, right?
Wrong, says Reality Biz News’ recent article entitled “When is the right time to consider estate planning?” While the life expectancy for the average American might be between 80 and 85, stuff happens, and so does death. You should be certain that your family is provided for, if you pass away unexpectedly.
It’s much easier to plan for the inevitable when you are young and healthy. However, many people wait until they’re in the hospital to begin considering estate planning. Let’s look at some signs you should begin estate planning:
If you are in your twenties and living from paycheck to paycheck, it might not make much sense to plan for the distribution of your estate. However, if you become incapacitated the court may need to be involved. At the minimum we recommend those 18 years old and older to have an Advanced Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney and HIPAA. If you die and your assets are less than $166,250 in CA, then your estate will not have to go through probate. If you die and your assets are more than $166,250, your estate will go though probate and assets distributed to your heirs at law unless you have a will, or a trust directing where your assets go. Its never too early to start planning your estate, when you begin saving money and making investments. Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney, if you fall into one of these categories:
You have a savings account. If you have a savings account with a few thousand dollars, you might want to think about who you want the money to go to if you pass away.
Have you recently been married? If you recently wed (or divorced), you and your spouse will want to start making a plan for who will get your joint assets when you’re no longer around. If you’re divorced, you should remove your ex from your will. If you don’t have a will, your property will go directly to your spouse when you die. However, there are a few exceptions, including the fact that you can leave a bank account to a payable on death beneficiary. This will avoid probate and have the funds in that account go directly to that designated beneficiary.
You have minor children. If you have minor children, you should ask an experienced estate planning attorney about creating a trust for anyone who may be dependent upon you and naming guardians for those minor children.
You want to travel. Before you plan your ascent of Mount Everest, update your will. If you have minor children, you will want to nominate a guardian for them, in the event that you fall off the mountain and do not return.
You own property. If you own a house, a car, a boat, or other real estate but aren’t married and have no children, make a will. That way you can leave those assets to whomever you want.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like your plan for safe, problem free, and successful transfer of assets to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to review your estate plan and identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
For more information and articles on estate planning, probate, trust law, and business planning, please visit our website and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
Reference: Reality Biz News (April 23, 2021) “When is the right time to consider estate planning?”