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When to Get Started with Estate Planning in Idaho

Written by: Jacques Law Office

You’re Never Too Young to Start Planning For the Future

When should you start planning for your future? The simple answer is NOW. If you are a legal adult and you haven’t already put a plan in place, now is the time to start. By adulthood, you most likely have established bank accounts and other financial responsibilities. This is when estate planning begins to be necessary and it only becomes more important as we age and grow financially.

Why Estate Planning is Important at Any Age

At every point of adulthood, you are on a financial journey. Each moment of this journey requires a certain level of fiscal responsibility in preparation for an inevitable future. The earlier you begin your estate planning, the better prepared you will be and the easier it will be to keep up-to-date on these responsibilities.

As your age and life progress, you will have new priorities and responsibilities that you should plan for, whether that be children or retirement. It is always important to keep up to date on your estate planning at every age and life change. This often means consulting with a trusted advisor or attorney

Common Misconceptions About Estate Planning

Many people believe that estate planning is for old people or rich people or people without debt. Another misconception is that estate planning costs a lot. The truth is that estate planning is different for every person but it is something that every person should do. 

There are aspects of estate planning that do apply more to wealthier people and other aspects that apply more to parents and still others that apply to business owners. Estate planning is a smart choice for everyone and can help you save your family more money than it could possibly cost.

Life Events That Trigger the Need for an Estate Plan

While all life events are important in your estate planning, certain steps in life trigger the need for an estate plan or an estate plan update. These are generally major changes in your life that require some form of planning for the future. 

Getting Married or Divorced

Marriage is a time when you are combining your lives, both physically and financially. It’s a time when you start to think about taking care of someone else, should something happen to you. It’s a time to make changes in life insurance beneficiaries and to make sure that your will is set up to secure the future of your spouse as well as you possibly can. You should both know your assets and future wishes. You should discuss and plan for what you would want to happen if something should happen to one or both of you.

Divorce can be hard on both parties and separating your lives is even harder than combining them ever was. In the case of a divorce, you need to look again at beneficiaries for insurance and retirement plans. You most likely have added assets and debt over the course of your marriage that need to be dispersed and planned for in the long run. 

In addition, sometimes the divorce requires certain financial responsibilities from one or both parties that need to be planned for if something should happen to you. No matter how pleasant or painful your divorce turns out to be, there are estate planning decisions that need to be made.

Having Children

There is no joy like adding to your family but these tiny little bundles of joy also come with a myriad of responsibility. In addition to the stress of just keeping this tiny new person alive, you have to consider what would happen to him or her if something were to happen to you. It’s time to think about who you would want to raise your children if something were to happen to both of you and to plan for that possibility. It’s time to look at and adjust your future plans. 

Perhaps you were planning on donating every asset to saving the whales, for example, but now you have a whole new set of priorities and responsibilities and the whales take a back seat to providing for the future of your children.

Acquiring Significant Assets

As you grow financially, you will most likely acquire assets along the way. These assets will likely be part of your estate someday. If you fail to make an estate plan, your family could find themselves dealing with lengthy probate and tax issues in addition to their loss. 

In addition to having a will in place to ensure that your wishes are followed, a trust could be a helpful way of protecting your family in this situation.

Incapacity or Illness

In life, the unimaginable happens. What would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated or became ill and unable to take care of your responsibilities? Who would you want to make decisions regarding your care if you were incapable of making these decisions for yourself? Who would you trust to handle your financial responsibilities if you were unable to? 

No healthy person wants to consider the possibility of a major health crisis, but since we are not allowed to plan for illnesses, these decisions need to be made and planned for while you are still healthy. Living wills and power of attorneys taken care of in advance can make the difficult decisions that will have to be made much easier for your family members.

Benefits of Early Estate Planning

The most glaringly obvious reason to plan early for your estate is that you never know when it will be needed. Also, there is the concern of disagreements within the family if there is no clear plan or written will. Estate planning also saves your family time and money from estate taxes and probate. 

The entire purpose of estate planning is for your family to be taken care of in the worst case scenario and the earlier you do this, the better.

What an Estate Plan Typically Includes

An estate plan typically includes a will, a trust, life insurance and power of attorney arrangements. You have likely heard of all of these things but what do each really do?

  • A will is an important document that ensures that your wishes are followed in the event of your death
  • A trust is an important financial document that controls how your assets will be distributed–this can protect them from estate taxes and the probate process
  • Life insurance should be obtained and included in your estate plan so that your family is financially secure in a time when they will need it most
  • Power of attorney gives someone you trust the legal ability to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or to handle your personal affairs in the event of your death

Getting Started with Estate Planning at Jacques Law

Don't wait until it's too late to secure your loved ones' futures. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Jacques Law can guide you through the process, ensuring your wishes are met and your legacy is protected. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your unique needs and take control of your tomorrow.

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