Whatever age you are, it is likely a good time to start estate planning if you have not already. For example, suppose you are 30 years old, married and have one child. You may not yet have significant assets, but you do have that spouse and child. What happens to the child if both parents die? Estate planning helps you answer that difficult question and many others.
So, the reply to, “When is a good time to start estate planning?” could very well be, “Right now.” Below are examples of other scenarios in which it is all but imperative that you take a little time for estate planning.
Before a second marriage
Before you marry for a second, third or fourth time is a good interval to take a moment to reflect on the big picture. You may have a house or other valuables you wish for your children from a prior relationship or first marriage to inherit. However, unless you make very specific provisions for these assets, they could end up with someone else. Simply telling your new spouse, “I want my kids to have the house,” is not enough. It is not always about trust. You could die before your spouse, with the house going to him or her. Your spouse might fully intend for your kids to have the house upon his or her death but then meets and marries someone new.
The point is that life can get complicated. An estate plan is straightforward and minimizes or eliminates possible complications. It might also help you avoid probate.
If you are near retirement, you could have a lot of assets, possibly including stocks, property and art. You might also have a good few decades of life left. It is also possible that you would spend significant time in assisted living, which gets expensive. Estate planning helps you get ready financially for the important years after retirement to ensure your dollars stretch as far as they can. You also have the opportunity to set up advance health care directives and living wills.
Of course, there are many reasons such as owning a business or having a child of any age to start estate planning sooner rather than later. An attorney can help.