If you have children, own a California home or have a retirement account, it’s in your best interest to have an estate plan. In fact, it may be a good idea to have an estate plan even if you don’t have any assets. Without an advance directive, you may get treatment while incapacitated that you wouldn’t have consented to while of sound mind.
You’re the only one who makes decisions about your health
When you were a child, your parents could make decisions on your behalf if you were incapacitated. However, after reaching adulthood, you are the only one who can do so. Without proper documentation, you may not get the treatment that you want or need in a timely manner. In addition to an advance directive, you can appoint a medical agent to speak on your behalf if necessary.
Make sure your kids are taken care of
You can designate a guardian for your children with a will or trust. A trust can also hold property for the benefit of your sons or daughters until they are old enough to manage assets on their own.
You are more likely to be of sound mind when you’re younger
Perhaps the best reason to start estate planning at a younger age is that you are more likely to be of sound mind. If there is reason to believe that you weren’t capable of understanding what a will, trust or other estate plan documents were when they were made, those documents might be invalidated. This means that your home, car or other possessions may be subject to state intestacy laws.
Taking a proactive approach to estate planning may make it easier to manage your affairs while alive and after your death. Having a clear plan in place may also reduce the risk of conflicts arising between family members or your child lacking the resources necessary to experience a comfortable upbringing. It may be worthwhile to review plan documents on an annual basis after they are executed.