Estate planning is something that most people can find excuses to put off indefinitely. After all, planning for your own death isn’t a particularly pleasant activity.
However, if you wait too long, you could wind up dying without a last will. Not only will that mean you don’t have control over your legacy, but it might also mean that your children and other dependents don’t have protection.
There are a few signs that it is time for you to sit down and create an estate plan.
You have minor children or adult children with special needs
If you have someone who depends on you for income, guidance and support, you need to make sure that that individual will have proper care if anything happens to you. Naming a guardian is one of the most important things that a parent can do to protect minor children or adult children with special needs in the event something happens to them.
You have substantial assets, like a house
Once you acquire real estate, a sizable life insurance policy or investment accounts, you need to start thinking about who will receive those assets when you die. If you don’t take the time to plan now, the state will make those decisions for you, possibly meaning that people you aren’t very close with will receive an inheritance you would rather give to someone else.
You have medical or financial concerns and want to protect yourself
Estate planning doesn’t just mean creating a last will. It also means creating power of attorney documents, advance medical directives that explain your wishes and even trusts in order to help you qualify for Medicaid if you need it as you get older.
Whether debilitating conditions run in your family or you find yourself getting close to retirement age, planning for retirement and Medicaid should be a part of your estate planning process. The sooner you have a comprehensive plan in place, the sooner you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from taking care of your loved ones and maintaining control over your legacy.