Thinking about the future can be a daunting prospect that can cause one to feel overwhelmed and even afraid. It is normal to have fears about the future, and while you cannot predict what will happen, you can take steps that will allow you to have a measure of confidence about what is to come. One thing that you can do is to make sufficient plans that will allow you to have the final say over what happens with things related to your personal property and your medical care.
Estate planning is a process of establishing plans and creating legal documents that outline your wishes for your property and what happens after you pass, as well as in case of incapacitation. This type of planning is essential for virtually all adults, not just individuals who are wealthy, older or in poor health. Planning well can allow you to look ahead and face the future with confidence and peace of mind.
Starting the estate planning process
There is no single estate plan that will work for every individual. It is important for each person to create a strategy that is uniquely suited to their specific needs and objectives. As you consider your own estate planning needs, you may find it helpful to know what to expect from this process and what you will need to create a strong, sustainable plan for the future. Steps you may need to take include:
- Create an inventory of your assets, finances, accounts and more.
- Account for the needs of your family, both now and in the future.
- Create financial and medical directives.
- Review beneficiaries of your accounts.
- Understand applicable tax ramifications for your decisions.
It is also helpful to understand that estate planning is not a one-and-done endeavor. You will need to reassess and adjust your current plans every few years or as necessary after significant life changes.
Your rights and interests
You don’t have to be wealthy or have a large estate to benefit from estate planning. You may find it helpful to seek an assessment of your situation so that you can understand what steps will be most useful as you create a strategy suited to your individual needs and objectives. As the future is unpredictable, it is important not to delay in creating the plans you need for your current and long-term interests.