One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to creating an estate plan is waiting too long to do so. While you may not feel particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of addressing what happens when you die, if you wait until your health begins to deteriorate, particularly if you experience any sort of cognitive decline as you age, it could be too late for you to create an estate plan that the courts will uphold and follow.
Additionally, if you die without a last will, the transfer of your assets to your loved ones could wind up delayed or complicated by intestate succession laws, which govern very strictly how the courts allocate assets in the event that you die without a will. The people you care about may not know what your medical wishes are, and your minor children could be left without a guardian named and approved by you.
Instead of risking the potential of creating a document that is not enforceable or dying without an estate plan on record, it is usually best to start planning sooner rather than later for the practicalities of what happens when you die, as well as your legacy.
It’s never too early to create an estate plan
One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that you should wait until all the details of your life are fully solidified before you commit your intentions to writing. However, life is nothing if not a process of constant change and evolution. Your relationships, family and finances will all continue to change throughout your life.
Rather than waiting until things reach a point where you don’t think anymore change is possible or when you retire, it makes far more sense to initiate estate planning now and then make adjustments or changes to your plan as your life circumstances necessitate those changes.
Planning now protects and guides the people you love
Creating an estate plan can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your last wishes have received adequate documentation for their later enforcement. You get to know that your loved ones will receive the assets you want them to and that the transfer of your possessions should occur without much difficulty.
In the event that there are financial or medical issues your loved ones need to address or that you wind up incapacitated, a comprehensive estate plan can also provide guidance on medical decisions, power of attorney documents in the event that you wind up incapacitated, and even instructions for your funeral service and burial plot.