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Estate Planning for Every Phase of Your Life

Estate Planning for Every Phase of Your Life

There are many people who think that estate planning is only for the elderly and only involves a will. The truth is, estate planning is much more than just a will and it’s something you should consider during various phases of your life. 

An estate plan is also more than just your plan for a funeral, it can help you plan for various aspects of your life. You are never too young or too old to create an estate plan and the best part about having one is that it can grow with you and be changed as needed. If you are planning on creating an estate plan, you may need the help of an experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer. 

Here are a few of the phases of life when you may want to consider getting or updating your estate plan.

During and After College

When you go off to college, you may be thinking more about grades or how you are going to pay back your student loans rather than your estate. You are usually on your own for the first time, which means that you are also now an adult who needs to start making plans for the future. 

If you want to start an estate plan, you can do so by getting a durable power of attorney: one for your finances and one for your health. A durable power of attorney gives someone else permission to make decisions on your behalf if you are ever in a situation where you can’t do so for yourself. This is necessary if you ever become sick or get in an accident and are not able to convey your wishes or desires. 

Your personal estate plan should include plans of action for both your health and your finances as well as name a person who will make the decisions for you.

Before or Directly After Getting Married

Marriage or a partnership is a huge step in a person’s life and it brings on new reasons to have an estate plan. You will want to add or change your power of attorney and possibly add a will, as you will now have more assets to consider as part of your estate. 

Naturally, you should also consider adding your spouse or partner as a beneficiary of your estate. This will help keep everything out of probate court and will also be a convenient thing to have done when the first person dies. Many couples choose to make their estate plans together once they are married as they share most of their assets and likely have a similar plan for how the estate should be divided when the time comes.

Starting a Family

Once you have children, you need to make sure they are included in your estate plan. If you want your children to inherit your estate or just certain aspects of it, you need to make note of it in your estate plan. Having children should also motivate you to create a guardianship plan as part of your estate plan. 

An Orange County estate planning attorney can help you decide who should become the legal guardian of your child or children if you and your spouse are no longer able to care for them. You can choose family members or even friends. This will give you peace of mind in knowing that your kids are in the best care possible, even if you aren’t able to care for them yourself.

Retirement

When you retire from your job, you’re likely to receive pension and might be worried about what will happen to it when you pass away. If you want to make sure your spouse or children get your pension and any other money or large assets you own, you will need to make a will and add it to your estate plan. This ensures that your family members inherit the money or assets you want them to have. 

It can also give you some control over how your funeral will be paid for, as you can choose to use your retirement money for funeral expenses and make it so whatever money is left is divided among family members. 

Final Expenses

When many people think of estate planning, they think of their final expenses. Some people don’t have a preference for their funerals or services, but there are others who have a clear plan. If you want to make sure your funeral goes as you want it and that it includes all the aspects you find important, you can plan for it yourself with your estate plan. If you want to make it so certain family members are put in charge of planning the funeral services, you can do that too. 

Estate planning also allows you to put away money that is intended to be used for your final expenses. This can help you avoid leaving a financial burden for your family and give you the peace of mind of knowing that your funeral has already been paid and planned for.

It’s not always easy to think about estate planning. Most people believe that an estate plan is only necessary if they become incapacitated or at the time of their death. But while it may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, estate planning is a necessary part of life. Not only will it give you some peace of mind, but it will also help ensure your family that all your plans are in order when you pass away. 

Estate planning doesn’t have to be a complicated process and it’s definitely not only for the elderly. You should have an estate plan early in life and you should update it as needed. 

If you are ready to make an estate plan or if you already have one but need to make some changes to it, an attorney can help you. Be sure to reach out for help with all your estate planning needs. We can help simplify the process and give you some peace of mind.

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County, CA
Wills & Trusts, Estate & Trust Administration, Probate, and Health Care Power of Attorney
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