It is not uncommon for people to put off planning their estate for a couple of different reasons. For one, it seems like something that really isn’t necessary until a point that is way off in the distant future. And for another, they may feel as though they don’t have a clear picture of exactly what they are going to have at the end of their lives. They are uncertain about what their own financial needs will be and they anticipate changing circumstances so they make no estate plans.
It is not hard to understand the above line of reasoning, but it is something to be transcended. An estate plan is necessary for every adult, even when you are still young and death due to natural causes is very unlikely. But of course, when you are first starting out in life your estate plan should be constructed differently than it will be when you are in your forties, and then after you retire it may need to be revised as well. When you enter your twilight years, once again, your estate plan may need to be revisited.
Estate planning is not a matter of making an appointment with an attorney and drawing up a series of documents that you keep in a lock box somewhere. It is an ongoing process, and the emphasis of the plan will change along with the organic dynamics of aging. At first, making sure that you have adequate life insurance as an income replacement vehicle and naming a potential guardian for your children will be a priority. Later on you will be engaged in retirement planning, and ultimately you will place more of a focus on end-of-life planning and the eventual distribution of your legacy.
The point is that there is no reason to put off planning your estate because dying is a long way off, or because your financial situation going forward is hazy. There is an appropriate plan for every “here and now,” and this is the correct way to look at estate planning.
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