Many people make the unfortunate mistake of believing that, if they are young, in good health or not wealthy, they do not need to worry about estate planning. This outlook is both erroneous and potentially harmful to you and your loved ones. In reality, it is never too early to start working toward having a thorough estate plan in place. As a recent US News article reminds us, the “sooner you start planning, the more prepared you will be for life’s unexpected twists and turns.”
An estate plan provides essential value, regardless of your net worth. Even if you have far more debts than assets, an estate plan can significantly simplify, and de-stress, the lives of whomever you leave behind who will manage the settling of your estate. In many cases, those with the most modest of estates are those that can least afford to lose any wealth as a result of a non-existent or poorly crafted estate plan, especially if the deceased has left loved ones behind who depended on him/her. “The less you have, the more important every bit you’ve got is to you and the people you care about,” the article states, quoting an attorney.
Getting your estate planning “house” in order means communicating, openly and honestly, with your loved ones. You should take time to inform your loved ones about all of your estate planning goals and desires, so that your will or living trust will contain no surprises, which will lower the risk of a court challenge after your death. Frank communication is also imperative for determining what person (or people) will serve as your agents. Although it may feel awkward, as a younger person, to discuss your own death or incapacity, this conversation is vitally important. The names you designate as your successor trustees, financial attorneys-in-fact or healthcare proxies should reflect people of whom you approve and who are comfortable assuming those responsibilities.
Another “key” to estate planning success, as a younger person, is understanding that simply creating a plan is not the “finish line.” Hopefully you will live to enjoy a long and fulfilling life. If you do, this means that your original will or living trust may be decades old by the time you die. Between the time you sign your original estate planning documents and the time you die, many things may be different, both in the law and in your life. To make certain your plan truly reflects your preferences and objectives, you should take care to get your plan reviewed periodically, and inquire about updates any time you experience a significant life event, such as a marriage, divorce, child’s birth or relative’s death.
Estate plans offer numerous benefits to their owners, but they can only work if you put one in place, and keep it properly maintained. To get your estate plan, consult Madison estate planning attorney Daniel J. Krause of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC. He can offer you knowledgeable, up-to-date advice and a plan that protects you and your family. Contact Attorney Daniel J. Krause today.
Reach us through our website or call our office at (608) 268-5751 to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial consultation.
How Long Since You Looked at Your Will or Trust? If You Haven’t Recently, You May Want To, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, Oct. 15, 2013
Focus on Minor Children: An Estate Plan Can Keep them Sheltered (and send them to college), Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, Oct. 11, 2013
A Success Story in Estate Planning: Estate Plan Offers Major Benefits, Even Before Death, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, Sept. 23, 2013