There will always be reasons to continue delaying the creation of a robust estate plan. Maybe you expect to get married soon or to buy a house in the next few years. Maybe you and your spouse are not yet done having children, or your children have just started having grandchildren.
Your assets and family circumstances will always be in a state of evolution, which is why you should not wait to feel as though everything in your life is settled before you begin estate planning. Otherwise, you run the very real risk of experiencing a family or medical emergency, or worse, without estate documents in place expressing your wishes for the care of your children and control of your assets.
You need someone to act for you in a medical emergency
Once you turn 18, your parents can no longer have access to your medical information or make decisions about what treatment you undergo unless you fill out special paperwork allowing them that access and authority.
You don’t have to choose your parents to act on your behalf. A sibling, a close friend or someone else that you deeply trust can speak on your behalf if you create advanced directives and powers of attorney. Giving someone the authority and providing them with information about your preferences will provide you with the most protection in the event you are not able to make decisions for yourself.
Intestate succession laws are cold and impersonal
Do you have a romantic partner that you have been with for years? If something were to happen to you unexpectedly, your partner would have no rights to inheritance whatsoever. Your parents would likely inherit everything that you own.
Although state law does ensure that people related to you receive your property, it recognizes the legal nature of the relationship and not the quality of your relationships. Spouses, children and parents will typically inherit most or all of someone’s property if they die without creating a will or trust.
Don’t Delay. While you may enjoy decades of healthy, uneventful living, you never know when an emergency might leave you medically vulnerable or claim your life. Careful estate planning begun as early as possible will protect you throughout your life, and you can update your documents as your situation changes.