Is it time to start estate planning?

When many people picture someone going through the estate planning process, they may imagine a white-haired man and woman thinking about how they will distribute property to their grandkids. While common, this mental picture may not be the one you need to have when it comes to estate planning.

Even if you have recently reached the age of 30 and feel as if you have your whole life ahead of you, it may benefit you to start estate planning. Even at this young age, you have likely accumulated assets that will need addressing in the event of your demise, and you may already have children of your own whom you certainly want to protect after such an event.

Your estate

Even if you do not have considerable wealth, you still have an estate. Any real estate, funds in your bank accounts, personal items and other assets make up your estate. In the event of your death, these assets would need to go through the probate or estate administration process.

Even with instruction, these legal proceedings can take a considerable amount of time, and your surviving loved ones would have to address the necessary steps no matter how extensive or meager your estate. Therefore, you may want to take the time to make probate somewhat easier by making your wishes known. This information may help your loved ones feel as if they have made the right choices in regard to your final affairs.

Your plan

One of the first steps you may want to consider when it comes to your estate plan relates to creating your will and naming beneficiaries. Property distribution makes up a significant part of probate, and you may have family members or other loved ones that you want to receive certain property after your passing. You can use your will to indicate who should receive what. Additionally, you can also use your will to name a guardian for your children.

You may also want to remember that estate plans do not only address assets. They can also allow you to provide instruction on how to handle your health care in the event of an incapacitating event. Using a power of attorney document allows you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf when you cannot make medical decisions on your own.

Your choices

Because an estate plan can cover many areas of your life and beyond, you may find it helpful to understand the available planning options. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the idea of estate planning at a relatively young age, you may want to consider it a step toward protecting your family and your assets. If you still feel hesitant about moving forward with the process, you may want to speak with a Minnesota attorney about the benefits of planning.