If you own a home or have children, start estate planning now | Hines & Maxwell, PLLC
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If you own a home or have children, start estate planning now

Far too many people put off estate planning until they are in their 40s or 50s. People like to believe that they will live to or exceed the average life expectancy for their generation, race and age. However, it's impossible to predict when and why someone could die. Someone in peak health could die at a young age, thanks to an accident. Sudden medical events can also end the life of someone who is otherwise seemingly healthy.

Waiting until you approach retirement age to begin estate planning puts your family at unnecessary risk. While Texas will assign your assets to your spouse or children if you die without an estate plan or last will, there could be weeks or months of delay as your family deals with probate court. If you take the time now to create an estate plan, you and your family will have protection from the unpredictable and peace of mind about financial matters.

Creating an estate plan should start in your 20s

Generally speaking, it's time to create an estate plan when you have substantial assets, such as a home or an investment account, or when you have people who are dependent on you for financial and social security. A spouse, a minor child or even a special needs sibling could need your help to remain financially secure and cared for. Creating an estate plan protects those people in the event of your passing.

One reason people may delay creating a last will or estate plan is that they have big plans for the future. Maybe you intend to have children, adopt or otherwise grow your family. You may think it's a good idea to wait until you're done expanding your family, but doing so puts everyone who relies on you at risk. Instead, you should create a solid estate plan as soon as you have substantial assets or dependents, and update it when your familial or financial situations change.

Estate planning handles assets, as well as medical wishes

Taking the time to commit your wishes and plans to paper can help ensure they are followed after your death. Naming an executor that you trust can help ensure that your will or estate plan is carefully followed and executed. It also helps ensure that your assets will end up where you want them to.

You might also want to consider creating a limited power of attorney in case you end up medically incapacitated. Comas, traumatic head injuries or strokes could all leave you unable to make your own medical decisions. Including information in your estate plan about your medical preferences, from organ donation to life support, take decision-making pressure off your family and ensures your wishes get followed when you can't express them for yourself.

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