If you are young or don't have much money, you may think estate planning is something you can wait to do until you're older and more wealthy. However, you should know you already have an estate, even if it is a small one. If you don't take charge of it now and something happens to you, then the court will decide what to do with your belongings, savings account, and even your children. Here is a quick look at why estate planning is important starting early in life.
Estate Planning Forces You To Organize Documents
If something were to happen to you today, would your spouse, children, or parents know where to find your will, mortgage papers, titles to cars, banking information, and other important papers? When you prepare your estate, you'll need all these documents, so this encourages you to keep all your important papers together. You'll want to update your estate regularly because your life situation will constantly change as you age. This forces you to keep organizing your papers so everything stays together and is easy to find when you pass away. This will save your family a lot of stress and trouble when it comes time to deal with your estate.
Estate Planning Protects Your Children
Part of planning your estate deals with protecting your children. You'll be able to designate who will take care of them while they are young instead of leaving it up to the court. Not only that, you'll be able to control any money they receive from your savings, investments, and sale of your property. You may want to leave any savings you have in place so it can continue to grow until your kids are adults. You can look to the future and stipulate how the money is dispensed to protect your kids when they get older so the money isn't lost through a divorce, or because one of your kids develops an alcohol or drug problem and is irresponsible with large sums of money.
An Estate Plan Protects You If You're Disabled
An estate plan not only kicks in when you die, but also it goes into effect if you become disabled to the point where you can't manage your affairs. You can appoint your guardian and power of attorney in advance. If you don't, the court will appoint a guardian that may not even be related to you. If one of your family members wants the position, he or she will have to go to court to get it and spend quite a bit of money in the process. An estate also allows you to make your wishes known when it comes to medical treatments you want if you become completely disabled. This is an important step to keep you from lingering for months or years on life support.
Another beneficial factor of working with an estate planner is that you'll get professional advice on the things you need to do based on your current life situation. For instance, if you're single, the only things you may need is life insurance, will, and medical directives. As you grow older, you'll probably have a spouse, children, and a more valuable estate you'll want to protect. Your attorney will help you adjust your plan to match your life if you go through a divorce or purchase property, so your estate is up to date. If nothing else, an estate plan gives you peace of mind the ones you love won't have the stress and aggravation of going through the court process to deal with your loans, finances, and possessions once you're gone. For more information, contact a professional such as James M Snow.