Starting a family is one of the most exciting moments in one’s life. Be it spontaneous vacations with the kids or hosting the in-laws for Thanksgiving, family life can be full of rewarding moments. With such a big adjustment to one’s life, however, it can also become incredibly busy. Between work, children and other time commitments, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the new role you’ve decided to take on. Such is why estate planning out one’s affairs ahead of time is a crucial aspect of family life.
Estate planning is a proactive activity that one should consider when they start a family. Though death is not something one should expect at a young age, it is never too early to begin planning out one’s financial affairs. Forming an estate plan provides security for a family in case of an unexpected event.
If one passes away without having established a will, generally the state where the deceased resided will determine who is entitled to the decedent’s assets. This complex process can lead to disputes over who is entitled to an asset and who will be guardians over the decedent’s minor children. Creating a will bypasses this process because it specifically states how a decedent wanted their assets distributed and who should be appointed guardians over their children. Furthermore, the creation of a will ensures that one’s financial assets will be properly guarded and cared for prior to distribution and thus can save many headaches down the road. In essence, a will is important because it sets the framework of who will receive one’s assets and children upon death. There is no harm done in drafting this document at a younger age because it can be easily modified at any point in time upon request. Rather, it is better to plan one’s estate early on because it will save time, money and unnecessary burden during a period that already brings extreme emotional stress upon a family.
Forming an estate plan early on can be beneficial regardless of one’s financial status. Even if one does not have accumulated wealth, it is best to plan ahead in case any unforeseen circumstances arise. If one becomes incapacitated without having guardians established for themselves in a designation of preneed guardian or naming agents in a power of attorney or designation of healthcare surrogate and living will, another complex guardianship process can lead to disputes over who will care for the person and who will care for the property. Creating the necessary documents will at the very least help ease this process and ideally will help avoid guardianship entirely.
In summary, it is in one’s best interest to form an estate plan, regardless of their age or net worth. Estate planning has many uses but it mainly serves to alleviate the distribution of assets and guardianship of children upon the death (be it expected or unexpected) of a loved one. Though most people do not consider creating a will or trust until they have reached a middle age, it is imperative that parents create one once they start their family. Establishing a will at an earlier age protects the spouse and children involved in a marriage in the case of an unexpected death. So start planning!
This article is written by Florida attorneys and only considers Florida law in place at the time of publication. This article should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and one should always consult with an attorney in their state before making any legal decisions.
At The Estate Plan, we take pride in serving our clients with compassion, competence and creativity. After all, we’re all unique. It takes a special comfort and confidence to trust someone to handle protecting one’s family and possessions. We appreciate being that person for so many families. If you are interested in coming in for a consultation, do not hesitate to contact us at (305) 677-8489.