If you do not already have an estate plan, then you should consider making one. You can create yours as soon as you turn 18 years old.
Naturally, the older you get, the more crucial it becomes to have your estate plans in place.
What do people get wrong when estate planning?
These are the three biggest mistakes people make with estate plans:
- Putting off making a plan entirely: It can be hard to think about your future when you are young. Once you start working and have children, you may struggle to find the time to create an estate plan. However, severe illness or death could surprise you at any moment. It is better to be prepared than surprised.
- Not seeking help with your estate plans: The Internet is full of sites telling you to download their document and make your will yourself. However, an effective estate plan is about much more than just will. You need to consider things such as powers of attorney and healthcare directives in case you become indisposed due to illness. An estate planning attorney can help you understand the different tools available and help you choose the right ones for your needs. They can also help you avoid traps that could cause your will to be invalidated — which is a common problem with online forms.
- Failing to update your plans as necessary: Some people make their estate plan then forget about it. Revisit yours after significant life events. These could include births, deaths, marriage or divorce. Starting or closing a business, acquiring or losing significant assets could also affect the plan you made. Check it every few years to ensure it represents your current wishes and estate.
A well-made estate plan can protect you, your family and your assets. However busy life may be, it pays to set aside time for this vital task.