When should you get an estate plan? There are several times in your life you should strongly consider getting an estate plan. If you didn’t get an estate plan started the day you turned 18, then you should get your estate planning done as soon as possible.
If you think estate planning is just for the elderly think again. People lose spouses at all ages. People have accidents at all ages. Medical incidents strike without warning with devastating consequences. Children lose parents while they are still minors.
All of these things lead to the court based process of probate or guardianship.
You and your family deserve the comforting protection that an estate plan gives.
First, the day you turn 18. At this age, the most important documents are a durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and a HIPAA waiver. This is the age when children go off to college or trade school, join the military, and more. This makes them vulnerable. If they don’t have those powers of attorney, then mom and dad can’t manage their affairs if something happens to them. Often parents end up in court to get a Judge to give them legal permission to manage.
Joe, who was in his early 20’s, was on vacation in the Philippines. He got into an area of town an American probably shouldn’t have been in. He was found beaten, almost to death, in his hotel room. Once he was returned to the United States, his mother had to go through the additional stress and expense of getting a guardianship to manage his financial and healthcare affairs.
Mary went off to work at summer camp the summer before she was starting college. Without a durable power of attorney, her parents would have needed to forward all the college paperwork to her for signature, get her to sign, have to wait for it back in the mail, and then send it to the college. That would have added needless time to the process. Instead, they used their durable power of attorney to sign for her.
That is when should you get an estate plan.