As soon as you are a legal adult, it’s a good idea to start working on the basics of your estate plan. While you may think of estate planning as something people do when they’re older, the reality is that an estate plan has a lot of protections that can help you now and in the future.
The right kind of estate plan helps you protect yourself as well as your assets. At a younger age, you may not have much in the way of belongings, but you may have health care preferences or children who you’d like to protect in your estate plan. That’s why it’s important to set one up and to adjust it over time to adapt it to your changing life.
Isn’t it too early to start estate planning at 18?
No, because at 18, you’re legally an adult. At this age, your parents or loved ones can no longer gain access to medical information if you’re hurt. If you have children, they’ll need an established guardian if you are incapacitated or pass away. If you already live on your own or have earnings, retirement savings or stocks, you’ll want to establish what you’d like to have happen with those if you die.
It’s never too early to plan. Some of the things you can bring up in your basic estate plan include:
- What to do with real estate, if you own any
- Which kinds of financial accounts you have and how to distribute them if you pass away
- What you would like to have transpire if you’re incapacitated and hospitalized
- What your medical preferences are
- What you’d like done with your remains if you pass away
While you probably don’t need to plan as thoroughly as some older people with more complex estates, the reality is that a basic estate plan is something that every person should have. As you age, you can add more legal documents to your estate plan to protect yourself, your family and your preferred beneficiaries. Estate plans should be thought of as growing, changing plans, so you can get started with only a few documents and go from there.