If you feel as though the years of retirement are far away, you might not have given your estate plan a second thought. But the fact is that whether you have created one or not, you already have an estate plan. This is because the state has general laws that will come into effect in the event of your death.

These laws, rather than the wishes that you might have expressed verbally to family members, are the rules that will govern the disposition of your estate. Therefore, it makes good sense to think about your estate plan as early as possible.

Details that should be included in estate plans

Many people think that an estate plan is purely the act of dividing assets between beneficiaries. However, this is far from the truth. An estate plan should include details of your wishes for your future medical care in the event that you becoming incapacitated. You should also leave instructions about how you would like your finances to be managed during your lifetime if you become incapacitated.

Other decisions that can be included in your estate plan may be how you would like matters to be managed after your death, e.g., matters regarding the guardianship of any dependent children that you have and the distribution of assets.

Planning your estate can be a very positive experience because you can start to have control over your legacy and know that things will be taken care of in any event. Estate planning also allows you flexibility for your future and the future of your family.

Source: Betterment, “Time to Prepare your Estate Plan?,” Nick Holeman, CFP®, accessed Nov. 17, 2017