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When should I start estate planning?

A reliable estate plan is a must to ensure your assets and your family remain protected after you’re gone. However, many people wonder when exactly to start estate planning, especially as they grow older and don’t have wills and trusts in place. In this case, U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice.

Regardless of your assets or property, it’s best to start estate planning as soon as possible. That’s why young adults are urged to name a health care proxy, which is a person that will make medical decisions in the event you’re incapacitated by illness or injury. A power of attorney should also be established at this time, which is a person you entrust to make financial decisions on your behalf in case you’re not able to.

As a person grows a little older, the next step is to think about your beneficiaries. For instance, if you have a 401(k) at your job should name a person who will receive the proceeds in the event of your death. This entails naming the person on the account, which you can also do with bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts.

While you may want to save money on estate planning, creating your own documents can be a bit of a gamble. After all, if you make a mistake or fail to include essential information your estate could wind up in probate. This is the costly process of proving that your estate plan is valid, paying off creditors, and finally providing funds to heirs. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, you can rest assured that your estate plan will be valid and effective.