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When is the best time to create an estate plan?

Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello

There are many Detroit area residents who have taken the time to create an estate plan. They understand its importance in communicating their wishes and creating a legacy. But others have procrastinated with this task, wrongly believing it is something that should be done after retirement. So, when is the best time to create an estate plan?

Many financial and legal experts believe that a person should create an estate plan when they become a legal adult at the age of 18.  They also believe that it should be updated every 3-5 years after that. The reason for the age of 18 is that this is typically when a person is newly responsible for their finances and power of attorney. Of course, estate planning may be the furthest thing from an 18-year-old’s mind.

There are some life events that can trigger the need for an estate plan. These may include:

  • Savings account. A savings account starts the process of thinking about who will receive the money after an owner’s death.
  • Home ownership. Purchasing a home is a good time to create an estate plan. If a person owns a home and doesn’t have an estate plan when they die it can lead to lengthy probate court proceedings.
  • Marriage. When a couple gets married they typically combine assets. Taking the time to determine what happens if one spouse dies can be crucial.
  • Having children. It is critical that parents create an estate plan after the birth of their first child. Having a plan in place as to what happens to their children and their assets in the event of an untimely event is important.
  • Inheritance. If a person receives an inheritance it can be a good time to update or create an estate plan to deal with the increase in assets.
  • Divorce. A divorce can be a time that estate plans are updated.

It is recommended that almost anyone over 18 should have some sort of estate plan. Besides dictating where a person’s assets go after their death, an estate plan can also cover important things like end of life medical decisions or designating guardians for children. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help create a plan that is unique to their client’s needs and can offer peace of mind that their wishes will be followed.

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