5 Reasons Why You Should Start Estate Planning Now

It’s never too early to build a comprehensive estate plan, and it’s better to start your plan as young as possible. There’s no telling when a serious accident or sudden illness will affect you. If something does happen, you’ll want to ensure you have a plan in place that will protect your family and assets. Additionally, your estate plan will help you protect yourself.

Take Care of Your Minor Children

If you have minor children, their future care is the most important reason to create an estate plan early in your life. If you do die suddenly and without a will, the courts will decide the guardianship of your minor children. This will likely result in your minor children being raised by someone you wouldn’t have trusted to love and care for them. When you hire a lawyer to help you draft a will, you can choose who will be granted guardianship after your death. This may be especially important if you have an ex-spouse who is abusive or struggles with addiction. Even though they may not be a good parent, they may be better able to obtain custody after your death. Establishing guardianship in your estate plan will help you avoid this type of situation.

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Protect Your Assets

Your estate plan can also be used to help you protect your assets and pass them onto your loved ones. Your lawyer can help you create a living trust. Since this is a private legal document, it won’t go through the probate process. Instead, any assets listed in the trust will be instantly transferred to the trustee upon your death. If you have specific assets that you want to ensure go to a spouse or child, the living trust is the best way to do that. However, if you delay in making your estate plan, everything will go through probate, and a judge will determine how your remaining assets will be distributed.

Appoint a Power of Attorney

Another reason you should start an estate plan early is to appoint a financial power of attorney. This is an individual who has the authority to access your accounts, deposit your paychecks, and pay your bills when you’re unable to manage your own finances. This is similar to the healthcare proxy in that the power of attorney only endures until you are well enough to manage your finances on your own. If you own a business, you can appoint another individual to manage your business affairs, or you can appoint one person to take control over your personal and business responsibilities. How you appoint powers of attorney will depend on your unique situation, so it’s a good idea to discuss your needs with your lawyer.

Plan for Your Medical Care

An estate planning law firm in Los Angeles can also help you draw up a healthcare proxy as a part of your estate plan. This is a document that lets you choose who will make medical decisions on your behalf. If you become physically unable to express your wishes or suffer a mental impairment that inhibits your decision-making abilities, your proxy will act for you. Once you choose your healthcare proxy, you can discuss your wishes with them to make sure they know how you would want them to act. For example, if you don’t want to be kept alive by artificial means, you can make sure your proxy knows not to extend your life in that situation.

Avoid Family Conflicts

Setting up your estate plan early will help ensure your loved ones won’t become embroiled in conflict after your death. Your lawyer can explain to your family that you had your plan set up for years in advance. This will leave no doubt that you were rational and capable of making your own decisions at the time you created your estate plan. Since there’s often conflict after a loved one’s death, this can help you protect your family from that situation. Rather than arguing over your assets, your loved ones can focus on their loss together.

Conclusion

Every person’s situation is different, and that’s one more reason to consult a lawyer about making an estate plan. They will know how to address the issues that are important to you. As you go through life, revisit your plan with your attorney to keep your documents updated. This will help you ensure your final wishes will be carried out.

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