Most people in the United States are going through life without any estate planning documents, but a lot of them know that it is important. They keep putting it on the back burner, and in far too many cases, the procrastination yields negative consequences.
Basic Responsibility of Adulthood
The best way to view estate planning is to compare it to some other responsibilities that you take care of on a cyclical basis. For example, your doctor probably tells you to get a blood test every year, and you get annual or semiannual dental checkups.
Tax planning is an annual event, and there are other recurring tasks that present themselves every four or five years, like voting or buying a new car.
Estate planning should be viewed in the same light. It is simply one of the basic responsibilities that you have to take care of when you are a self-supporting adult. While you are still single, the estate plan can be very basic, but planning will take on an added level of importance when you get married.
Couples usually maintain a lifestyle that is based on two incomes, so you have to ask yourself where your partner would be if you were no longer around to help. These responsibilities increase considerably when you have your first child.
When you first establish an estate plan, you should recognize the fact that you will have to revisit it as the years pass. Additions to your family will require estate plan updates, and if you go through a change in marital status, your existing plan will be obsolete.
An improved financial position is another factor that could trigger the need for an estate plan update. Along the way, a trustee, an executor, or a power of attorney agent may pass away, or your relationship with one of the individuals that you selected may change.
The twists and turns in your own life are the primary drivers, but there are also things outside of your control that can impact your existing estate plan. Relevant laws change all the time, and as a layperson, there is no reason why you would always be up-to-date.
Even if there are not any obvious reasons why your estate plan should be adjusted, you should review your estate plan with your attorney every few years. In this manner, you can always be sure that your estate plan will reflect current circumstances.
We Are Here to Help!
Now is the time for action if you have been going through life without an estate plan. We can gain an understanding of your current situation and help you create the ideal initial plan. As time passes, we can get together to review the plan and make any adjustments that may be necessary.
You can schedule a consultation at our Burbank, CA estate planning office if you call us at 818-937-2335. If you would rather send us a message, take a moment to fill out our contact form and we will get back in touch with you promptly.