As you look at your belongings and assets, your family and other aspects of your life, you may ask yourself if you’re too young to put together an estate plan. Whether you’re 18 or 81, it makes sense for you to have an estate plan in place to protect you, your assets, and those you love.
No matter how old you are, an estate plan can help protect your best interests. It has the potential to protect you during life and to make sure your wishes are carried out after your death.
A good estate plan makes sense as soon as age 18
Prior to becoming an adult, most people will not be able to make an estate plan of their own. There are exceptions, of course, but otherwise, it will be necessary to wait until you’re at least 18 to make your estate plan.
In your estate plan, there are a few documents that you should include. These might include:
- A power of attorney to choose someone to take care of your financial needs if you are incapacitated
- A healthcare power of attorney to assign someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself
- A last will and testament, which discusses who will oversee your estate and assets, how they’ll pass on and more
Sometimes, people skip out on having an estate plan when they’re in debt or have little to their name, but it’s a better idea to put an estate plan in place for your own protection. Even if you don’t have assets to pass on, you do need to know who will care for you if you are incapacitated. If you have children, you’ll want to know who will obtain guardianship if you are incapacitated or die.
Others avoid estate planning due to cost, but keep in mind that you don’t need to do everything all at once. You can set up your basic estate plan first, and then you can add to it as needed over time. Doing this can save you money and provide you the protections you need now.