You may think of estate planning as something you do when you become a senior citizen; however, taking stock of your estate at any age once you become a legal adult can help your family members make more informed decisions if you become too ill or otherwise incapacitated to make them on your own.
According to Charles Schwab, creating and updating an estate plan can also help you take stock of your assets and liabilities, and asking yourself a few important questions could streamline this process.
1. What is the total value of my estate?
Even if you own a modest home and a vehicle, taking stock of all your valuable assets can be a useful first step in estate planning. You can include items such as real estate, jewelry and any vehicles, including boats and motorcycles. If the value of any items falls into question, consider having them professionally appraised.
2. Who should handle my financial affairs if I cannot?
While you may enjoy good health now, accidents or illness may make it impossible for you to make any decisions about your finances in the future. Appointing someone to handle your money, pay your debtors and make investment decisions while you have the ability can provide everyone, especially your children, with future financial stability without the need for a lengthy court battle.
3. How often should I update my estate plan?
Because laws and personal circumstances may change, you may want to consider reviewing your estate plan at least once a year. Family births and deaths may also require you to make changes.
Once you make an estate plan, let your loved ones know where they can find it in case an accident or illness should incapacitate you.