When Is The Best Time To Plan Your Estate?

January 29, 2012
Updated on December 1, 2020

Most people start thinking about planning their estates when they reach retirement age. After all, the "normal" progression of life is to graduate school, get a job, get married, have children, help your children graduate school, retire, become grandparents, and enjoy life. Then, after a long and fulfilling life, you will eventually pass on.

But we all know that real life rarely happens this way. People have children and do not get married, people get divorced, people marry more than once, or people may never marry or have a family. Real life is full of options, choices, and twists of fate.

Dying, of course, is not optional. Nor do most of us choose how or when it will happen to us. We may take precautions and try to live healthy, safe lives so that we may live as long as possible—but still, there are no guarantees. What would happen to your loved ones, then, if you passed on earlier in life than you planned? Would there be enough money to provide for your family members the way you would want? Would they be able to get to the assets you leave behind, or would your assets be tied up in probate court, subject to expenses and fees? How long would your family have to wait to access your money and property? And how much would they really get? Wouldn't it be better to make sure that the people you care about will be taken care of the way you want, especially if your life were to end suddenly and unexpectedly?

Or, let's say you do live until a ripe old age. You could wait until the last possible minute to plan your estate, making planning decisions while in the hospital. All too often, however, those hasty decisions are unwise and wrought with error. Wouldn't it be better to put a plan in place now so you are covered, just in case, and then have years to think about it and fine tune it until it is just right?

Planning your estate now does not mean you will die tomorrow, just as buying homeowner's insurance does not mean your house will burn down tomorrow. But if you act now, you will not have to worry about what could happen to your family if your life does not go as planned, or about making bad decisions when you have run out of time.

It is called peace of mind, and you can have it. When is the best time to plan your estate? Right now!