One of the many confusing things about estate planning for the average person is knowing when to create a plan. The simplest way to clear up the confusion is to explain that it is never too early to start working on an estate plan. Despite that oversimplification, there are certain stages in life when creating an estate plan is particularly important and/or when you need to update an existing estate plan. With that in mind, the Indianapolis estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft discuss stages of life when you need an estate plan.
First “Adult” Job
Many people start their first “adult” job after graduating from college. Regardless of when you begin that job, you should create a basic estate plan when you do. This is the stage of your life when you start to save money, build credit, and work toward a future that may include a family, a business of your own, and/or financial investments. Although you may not yet need an elaborate plan, you should have a simple Last Will and Testament in place at a bare minimum to ensure that the assets you acquire at this stage in your life are distributed according to your wishes if something happens to you.
Family and Children
The next important stage of life for many people involves marriage/partnership and/or children. When you add someone to your life as a spouse or partner, you will want to ensure that they are protected and provided for if something happens to you. The same is true for children if you choose to have them. At this stage of life, your estate plan will likely become more detailed and expansive. You may decide that a simple Will is not the best option for distributing your assets, particularly if you have minor children who cannot inherit directly from your estate. In that case, a trust may be the better option. The same is true if you decide to forego legal marriage or if your spouse is a non-citizen. Not only does a trust bypass probate but establishing the right kind of trust can protect assets intended for a partner or non-citizen spouse better than your Will can. You will also want to incorporate incapacity planning tools into your estate plan at this stage of your life to ensure that your wishes are followed and that you get to choose who makes medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
If you go through a stage in life that includes starting your own business, you need to make sure that you have an up-to-date estate plan in place. Estate planning can help protect your personal assets in case the business does not succeed and help protect and grow the business if it does succeed. Including asset protection and business succession planning tools and strategies in your estate plan can accomplish all these goals
By the time you near retirement, you should already have a well-thought-out and comprehensive estate plan in place. You should, however, sit down and review and revise that plan when you get close to retiring. Retirement often means that your asset portfolio changes as does your income. You will also want to discuss the need for Medicaid planning with your estate planning attorney and make sure that incapacity and funeral planning components reflect your current wishes.
Contact Indianapolis Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the stages of life when you need an estate plan, or if you are ready to get started on or update your estate plan, contact the experienced Indianapolis estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.
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