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What Age Should You Start Considering Having an Estate Plan?

by | Oct 9, 2021 | estate planning

As most people get older, the thought of planning for the future and creating an estate plan may cross their minds. However, there is no rule that you have to be at least a certain age to begin estate planning. In fact, making an estate plan sooner rather than later is always a good idea. You can make an estate plan that fits your needs at any age.

California Estate Planning Attorneys

The estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver are here to help you with your estate planning needs. Our lawyers have helped many clients get started with estate planning. Whether you are just starting to think about the process or you are ready to begin, we can help. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule a meeting with one of our estate planning attorneys.

Early Estate Planning Goals

Ideally, you should get started with estate planning in your twenties or thirties. If you do begin the process at this time, you will be ahead of the curve. There are a few different types of estate plans you should start thinking about in this stage of your life.

Estate Planning in Your Twenties

In your twenties, it is helpful to set up an advance health care directive and a health care and financial power of attorney. An advance health care directive will establish how you want certain medical decisions handled in case you are incapacitated and cannot make the decisions for yourself. For example, you can state whether or not you want extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life, such as life support.

A health care power of attorney document will allow you to choose someone to make health-related decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. With a financial power of attorney document, you can designate someone to make financial decisions on your behalf in a situation where you cannot make the decisions on your own. You can also establish the scope of this authority for both types of power of attorney—meaning, you can give your designated person as much or as little decision-making power as you would like.

Estate Planning in Your Thirties

By the time you have reached your thirties, you may now be married, have children, or own a house. At this point in your life, you may have some financial assets that you want to make sure to protect.

In addition to the estate planning documents recommended for your twenties, there are some more estate plans you should consider making in your thirties. For example, at this point in your life, you should strongly consider making a will. 

Drafting a will is especially important if you are married or have children. In your will, you can specify who you would like to receive certain assets or property from your estate. Additionally, you can name a guardian to take care of your children if you and the other parent are unable to do so.

Another form of estate planning to think about in your thirties is creating a trust. A trust can include many different types of assets, such as financial accounts and real estate. There are different types of trusts you can include in your estate plans—such as living trusts and irrevocable trusts. Your estate planning attorney can help you choose which type of trust is best for you.

Estate Planning Later in Life

If you decide to begin estate planning in your forties or fifties, you are not alone. It is common for people to put off estate planning for many reasons. However, if you are getting started at this point in your life, you may have some additional work ahead of you.

When you begin estate planning, you should include power of attorney documents, advance directives, and make a will. You should also think about creating a trust if it makes sense for your needs.

If you already have estate plans in place as you reach this stage of your life, it is a good idea to review your estate plans and make any changes or updates as needed. For example, you may have acquired additional assets or property that should be included in your estate plans. Or, you may have had additional children or even grandchildren since your will and other estate plans were drafted. 

It is crucial to review your estate plans every so often to ensure that they are up-to-date and include any additional assets and beneficiaries. If you are thinking about beginning the estate planning process or you are ready to make some changes or updates to your existing estate plans, an estate planning attorney can help you.

Contact Your Local Estate Planning Attorney Today

At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. we are committed to delivering personalized legal guidance to you that is individually tailored to your unique circumstances.  If you are ready to get started on creating an estate plan, contact us today at 707-867-0787 or fill out our online contact form.