When To Start Estate Planning
Estate planning is unique to the potential client. There’s no one-size-fits-all estate plan, or at least there shouldn’t be. Certain factors have a tremendous impact on the type and the specifics of a personalized estate plan, such as:
- If you’re single or married
- If you have children
- Your age
- Your health
- Your specific planning goals
Those factors change over time, so the estate plan, corresponding documents, and intent typically change over time as well.
One of the great benefits of estate planning is that your estate plan can change with you and your circumstances.
The Differences In Estate Planning Between When You Are Working & Retired
Estate plans differ depending on the goals established by the client. Although being employed or in retirement status can affect the estate plan, it is generally because goals change, not the employment status itself.
Sometimes in retirement, there are other things people want, and they can shift their focus toward whatever it is. For instance, upon retirement, one might need to assess the answers to the following questions with an estate planning attorney:
- What is the risk of any healthcare issues?
- Has that been planned from an insurance perspective?
- What type of insurance is in place?
- Is there any long-term care insurance in place?
Suppose long-term care plans have yet to be made. In that case, we may discuss asset protection planning and other ways to mitigate the risk of potential healthcare issues and plan for unforeseeable events.
The goals of the estate plan change as life progresses, but it’s not directly related to retirement. As we get older, certain health-related concerns become more prevalent as it pertains to planning.
Does One-Time Estate Planning Work?
Generally, estate planning is not a one-time event. Practically speaking, it could be a one-time event, but that would not be typical of most people’s needs and requirements.
Estate planning is designed to put a plan in place at a specific moment. Our firm puts the estate plan in place based on the current status of the family or individual, so when the circumstances change, the estate planning documents will need to change, too.
As various life events occur, the estate plan should be constantly reviewed to ensure that it still meets the goals and requirements of the individual in the family.
The Most Important Documents You’ll Need To Include
The essential and standard documents that are prepared for an estate plan include:
- A Last Will and Testament
- A Trust
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney or Patient Advocate Designation
- A general Power of Attorney
- A HIPAA release,
- A Living Will or Advanced Directive
Based on the individual and family circumstances, other documents can be included to account for children, beneficiaries with supplemental or special needs, and individuals with potential healthcare or facility placement concerns.