If you have always thought about estate planning as something to do when you get older, now may be the time to sit down and reconsider that. It is inevitable that everyone will eventually need help and support as they age. While the need for nursing home care or end-of-life decisions may seem far off into the future now, the reality is that you could end up needing help at almost any time.
Sudden accidents and emergencies may put you in a position where you can’t make medical decisions. You may be incapacitated by the early onset of a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Having an estate plan in place now will help make sure you’re protected even if the worst does come to pass.
At what age should you consider building an estate plan?
It is smart to start building your estate plan as early as age 18. As soon as you’re an adult, your parents or guardians usually lose the right to ask questions about your medical health if you’re hospitalized. They may not be able to tell the medical staff your wishes, either.
For younger people, setting up a health care power of attorney is something that is absolutely essential. That way, you’ll know that someone you trust is making decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated.
Estate planning doesn’t just deal with death
Many younger people believe that estate planning is focused on passing on assets after death, but that’s not always the case. Your estate plan may include your health care or financial power of attorney documents. It may have guardianship or conservatorship information. If you have children, you can appoint someone to care for them if you’re unable to do so.
Even if you’re young now, it is important to develop a strong estate plan that protects you and those you love. If you don’t have one, then you may have no control over what happens if you’re incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly. Instead of risking this happening, consider looking into setting up a basic estate plan and adapting it over time to suit your unique situation.