The answer is as soon as possible! Even a single, 30-year-old millennial should have a Will, Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney in place. You need to prepare for the unexpected, and you want to take care of your family. If you have children or significant assets such as a house, investments, retirement accounts and other financial accounts, you will want to have an estate plan. Estate planning is truly a labor of love for those left behind when you are gone. Please don’t procrastinate. Your loved ones will thank you.
Wills and trusts have some similarities. They are both estate planning tools and can work together to create the most complete plan for an estate. The main differences between a will and a trust are:
- Wills become effective after death, whereas some trusts are effective upon creation;
- Wills direct who receives property upon death and appoint a legal representative to oversee this process, whereas a trust can distribute property prior to death;
- Trusts cover only property placed in the trust, whereas wills cover anything owned solely by the person creating the will;
- Wills are public record and must go through the probate process, whereas as, generally, a trust remains private.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both wills and trusts, so speak with us about your circumstances to determine which of the options, or what combination of the two, is best for you.
An advance healthcare directive can include a power of attorney, a health care proxy, and medical instructions. An advance healthcare directive is an important part of estate planning that allows you to make your wishes known to your loved ones in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Advance directives also allow you to appoint the person who will communicate those wishes to your health care providers. Creating an advance healthcare directive is an act of ensuring that you have the final say about what happens to your body and with your treatment if you are unable to make those decisions known yourself. So, no matter how unpleasant it might be for you and your loved ones to discuss, it is necessary and will save a great deal of emotional trauma in the future.
Certain life events trigger the need to update your will and other estate planning measures. These include:
- Children, by birth, adoption, or marriage
- Death of a spouse
- Change in assets
- Change in status of a guardian, trustee, or executor
- Changes in tax laws