The kindest thing we can do for our family members is to establish a solid estate plan in the event of our death or incapacity. If they have a thorough plan to follow, they can focus on mourning, and they don’t have to worry about figuring out what to do with your assets and other decisions. Contrary to popular belief, an estate plan is useful at every stage of life, not just when you reach an advanced age.
Each stage of life provides for unique circumstances in which an estate plan can help to protect and provide for your loved ones. Since you never know when something might happen to you, it’s best to always be prepared, and to have an estate plan in place that is appropriate for your life situation.
Before you start a family
If you are a college student or a recent graduate and don’t have children yet, an estate plan might not even be on your radar. However, just because you don’t have too many assets yet doesn’t mean that you don’t need at least a couple of key documents.
The grim truth is that, even if you don’t pass away when you are young, a serious accident could befall you at any moment, and leave you incapacitated. It will be much easier for your family members to care for you if you have executed Durable Powers of Attorney for healthcare and for finances.
Once you have children
When children enter the picture, it becomes more important than ever to have a will.
Nevada law has clear provisions that govern what will happen to your assets if you pass away without a proper estate plan in place, meaning that your assets will go to your spouse and children automatically. But if you have executed a will, you will be able to care for their needs more thoroughly, and can make sure your specific desires are carried out.
In addition to a will, you’ll need documents in place that specify who will care for your children should you and your spouse pass away at the same time. A decision this important shouldn’t be left up to the court. You should decide with your spouse who you would most like to take custody of your children.
Once you become an empty nester
At this stage, it’s time to start considering whether you want to establish a trust, or whether you’d rather that your estate pass through probate. You can discuss the various positives and negatives of each option with your attorney.
It will be hard enough for your loved ones to deal with your passing. You can help to make it easier for them by establishing a thorough estate plan now, even if you are young and healthy.