It is natural to take future events more seriously as they start to loom closer. For this reason many people don’t think about estate planning until they reach middle age and beyond, and this is understandable, but misguided all the same. It is true that as you build assets and see your retirement over the horizon planning for the future becomes more immediately relevant. But making sure that you have a rudimentary estate plan in place could be viewed as one of the core responsibilities of adulthood.
There are those who would suggest that the time to start planning your estate is when you legally become an adult, and there is nothing wrong with this line of thinking. Even if you don’t have any assets to speak of, there is the matter of possible incapacity. If you were to suffer a devastating injury in a skiing accident or a motor vehicle crash your next of kin may not know how you would want to proceed with regard to being kept alive indefinitely on life support systems. You could choose to execute a living will to elucidate your wishes and remove the burden of this potentially heart wrenching decision from the shoulders of your loved ones.
Once you have people depending on you, an estate plan becomes a must. Most young couples depend on two incomes to maintain their standard of living. If you were to pass away suddenly in an accident, aside from the emotional devastation, your surviving spouse could also be placed in an untenable financial situation. For this reason it is important to do what you can to have some savings in place, take advantage of 401k opportunities at work, and make sure that you have adequate life insurance coverage in place. When you have children, all of the above becomes exponentially more essential.