For many, estate planning is something they would rather put off until the last minute. It is certainly not something most people think about at a young age. So, when is the right time to start planning your estate? In truth, there is no easy answer to that question because at the end of the day, it is never too early to start putting things in place for the future.
Even people in their mid-20s can benefit from estate planning – especially if they have considerable assets. Although it is something most people prefer not to think about, anything can happen in this world. When you spend a little bit of time planning for the unthinkable, you can ensure that your loved ones inherit your assets in an easy, seamless manner.
What if I Have No Assets?
Let’s say you are a 21-year-old with no home or notable assets to your name. Should you still consider estate planning? The answer is a resounding “yes,” and here is why: There are plenty of important steps you need to take that do not even involve money when planning your estate. When you turn 18, your parents can no longer make financial and medical decisions for you. This is why you need to set up “power of attorney” right away. In doing so, you will elect someone who has the power to make these important financial decisions for you when you are not able to make them. For example, you might be in a coma or Missing in Action.
In addition, you can also fill out something called an “advance directive” (this document may have different names in other states). An advance directive lets you plan out certain medical courses of action so that doctors respect your wishes even when you are unconscious or otherwise unable to consent to treatment. At the end of the day, it is never too early to start looking into these areas with your attorney, even as an 18-year-old.
What if I am Not Rich?
Estate planning is not something reserved for the wealthy. Middle-class and working-class families also need to consider their estates for a number of important reasons. The first thing you need to consider is perhaps the most important asset of all — your children. Estate planning can help you decide what happens to your kids after the unthinkable happens. You can work with your attorney to choose a guardian for your children if both parents happen to pass away at the same time.
Even if you do not consider yourself a wealthy person, there are plenty of assets that may be worth more than you think. Your stock market investments could skyrocket after your passing. In addition, your loved ones may feel that certain items have incredible sentimental value, even if these items are not worth much in a financial sense. In both cases, it is important to plan who receives what. If you never plan out your estate, your prized assets could fall into the wrong hands. For example, a loved one might receive a significant amount of cash, even if that person is highly irresponsible with money.
Make Things Easier on Your Loved Ones
At the end of the day, estate planning is not really about you. After all, you will be gone. Estate planning is all about making life easier for your loved ones after your passing. When you carefully plan out your estate with a qualified attorney, you can save your loved ones a significant tax bill. Since 2018, the State of New Jersey has completely removed its estate tax, but inheritance tax still exists at a rate of 11%.
An attorney can help you mitigate the financial burden on your loved ones when they inherit your assets. In addition, estate planning creates a situation in which family members are not arguing over who receives what. Everything is laid out in clear, legal terms.
Who Can Help Me With Estate Planning?
If you are ready to take estate planning seriously, reach out to Giro LLP, a Elder Law Attorney at New Jersey. Our highly-qualified family law attorneys have decades of experience in estate planning, and our firm is located in Hackensack, New Jersey. Remember, it is never a bad time to begin planning your estate, so contact us today and achieve peace of mind.