When Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Nobody wants to dwell on the worst-case scenario, but it is always important to plan for anything, especially when you are protecting the ones you love. Some people may think that estate plans and wills are only for the elderly, but in fact, sometimes its younger individuals who need an estate plan the most. It is never too early to establish an estate plan, and every adult should have some sort of will in case something should happen to them.

As a rule, adults should establish an estate plan as early as possible, but having a will and other documents becomes especially important when one becomes married, buys property, and has children. That isn’t to say that individuals without these things should forgo writing a will, but people with more assets and family dependents have more to lose.

The Importance of an Estate Plan

By establishing an estate plan, you can create a concrete plan for your assets and your family after you are gone. Estate plans are composed of more than just wills, and they do much more than just divide your belongings after death.

An estate plan can include the following components:

  • A Will: The key component of any estate plan, the will designates which of your loved ones will receive your properties and assets after you’ve passed away. A will can also appoint guardians for any minor children.
  • Trusts: Trusts can also be used to pass along properties and other assets, but it appoints a trustee to manage the asset until the beneficiary, (recipient) is able to manage it on their own. It is also important to note that trusts can be utilized while you are still alive.
  • Power of Attorney: In the event that you are unable to control your own finances or make your own medical choices, your power of attorney will appoint a designated person to act for you. Typically this comes into play if someone is seriously injured, in a coma, or suffers from a severe case of dementia.
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive: The advanced healthcare directive can be used to convey your medical wishes. For example, in this document, you can state what you would like to happen if you should be on life-support, or if you do not wish to be resuscitated, and so on.

Everyone wishes to handle their assets, properties, and the rearing of their children differently. It is important that your wishes be carried out, which is why having an established estate plan is so important. While having a will might seem like enough, there are other key documents you can add to your estate plan to better protect your assets and secure a future for your loved ones after you are gone.

If you fail to establish a will, and something happens to you, it could put your family in a very tricky situation. In the event that both you and your child’s other parent die, and you have not designated a guardian, your child will likely be passed to your closest living relative, which might not have been your first choice. Also, failing to assert who will receive which assets and properties after your death could put your estate in probate, which is often an extremely stressful, costly ordeal.

Contact Scaringi Law today to begin working on your estate plan with our Harrisburg attorneys.


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