What Age Should You Get An Estate Plan?

What age should you get an estate plan?

Estate planning is a crucial aspect of financial management that often gets overlooked, especially by younger individuals. However, the reality is that estate planning is not just for the elderly or the wealthy. It is a proactive measure that individuals of all ages (and all levels of wealth) should consider. In this article, we’ll explore the question, “What age should I get an estate plan?” and discuss why estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of age.



Importance of Estate Planning at a Young Age:

  • Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not reserved for older adults. Younger individuals can also benefit from it at very least to protect against incapacity using Powers of Attorney.
  • When you have something to protect, whether it’s assets, property, or children, it’s time to consider a more robust estate plan that will likely include a Living Trust and Will.
  • Estate planning allows you to specify your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of your children in the event of your incapacitation or death as a bare minimum. You can protect your family from enduring the hardships of Probate Court both while you’re alive and after you pass away with a simple plan, and more advanced planning can assist with all types of creative solutions (incentive based inheritances, blended family protections, tax planning, asset protection, etc.).


Factors to Consider When Deciding on Estate Planning:

a. Property Ownership:

  • If you own property, such as a home, condo, or even vacant land in California, having an estate plan ensures that your property is distributed according to your wishes. Having a Living Trust as part of your estate plan helps ensure your property not only is distributed according to your wishes, but also outside the Probate Court system (saving family time, money, and headache).

b. Children Under 18:

  • If you have minor children, an estate plan allows you to designate a guardian to care for them in the event of your untimely death. You should designate who is to raise your children, not a Judge.
  • Additionally, you can establish trusts to manage assets for your children until they reach a certain age or milestone in life, and you can include protective measures to safeguard inheritances against divorce or next generation probate as well if you choose. You’ll also be able to designate who will be managing funds for your children until the ages or milestones you’ve laid out, making sure the funds you leave behind are well cared for and actually used as intended.

c. Asset Threshold:

  • In California, estates with assets exceeding $184,500 (as of the posting of this article) are subject to probate when someone passes with the assets in their personal name (and no beneficiary designation exists). By creating an estate plan with the proper tools, you can avoid the lengthy and costly probate process.
  • Even if you don’t currently meet the probate threshold in liquid assets, many will choose to create an estate plan to cover assets set to pay out upon your passing (life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.). This can provide clarity and guidance for your loved ones during a challenging time.



Benefits of Estate Planning for Individuals of All Ages:

  • Asset Protection: Estate planning allows you to protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits. There are varying levels of asset protection and the right technique for one person may not be right for another person. Working with a professional to decide what is best for your situation is always best on this topic.
  • Healthcare Directives: You can outline your medical preferences and appoint a healthcare agent to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Financial Agents: You can outline who shall make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, keeping the Courts out of it during trying times for your family.
  • Tax Efficiency: Proper estate planning can minimize estate taxes and ensure that your assets are distributed efficiently. Even when estate taxes are not of concern, preservation of capital gains tax adjustments and property taxes can be real concerns for nearly all families. A proper estate plan can assist with all of these areas.
  • Peace of Mind: By having an estate plan in place, you can alleviate the stress and uncertainty that often accompany unexpected life events.


Wrapping It Up:

In conclusion, the question of “What age should I get an estate plan?” has a simple answer: as soon as possible. Estate planning is not just for the elderly or the wealthy—it’s for everyone. Whether you’re a young adult starting your career or a retiree enjoying your golden years, estate planning provides invaluable protection and peace of mind. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys, today to start planning for your future.

Michael Jenkins

Michael Jenkins

Estate planning became personal to Michael when his father passed away suddenly without any plan in place. Since that day Michael has made it his mission to educate everyone on the need for an estate plan, provide the legal advice and guidance needed, and ensure that no family is left dealing with estate issues while grieving the loss of a loved one.


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