What is the best time in my life to start thinking about planning my estate? i.e. Will? Trust?
Planning an estate and writing a will is an uncomfortable project for many people to think about but it is often an invaluable legal step to protect yourself and your loved ones. Not only will it help to protect the deceased’s family, it will also allow an individual to plan exactly how and their assets will be transferred and who will make decisions related to their finances and health when they are no longer able to do so.
There is no perfect time in life when it is necessary to write a will. The primary things to consider when deciding to make an estate plan are if an individual has any dependents, their state of health, the income a family or loved ones are relying on and the assets of the family. Any time that any member of a family such as a spouse, child, or grandchild relies on another member financially, it is time to begin considering estate planning.
In addition to estate planning which will cover a wide variety of legal and financial issues in the event of a death, there are also some other considerations to make. Those who do not have a spouse or dependents should consider a will after any major life events such as marriage or birth of children. This includes the development of a retirement fund or even the purchasing of a new home. While these belongings will find their way to the family may eventually get these belongings, a legally-binding will can ensure the decedent’s wishes are adhered to and also help to expedite the probate process.
The final consideration to make is the development of a trust overseen by a trustee. In these fiduciary agreements, all assets are immediately transferred to a trustee in order to avoid probate. The trustee trust agreement will dictate how the assets held in trust will be transferred to loved ones and can provide for distribution over time instead of all at once. While this will require a little more planning from a number of parties, it will come with a wide variety of advantages including more control over how assets will be transferred following their death.