Do you know why you need an estate plan?

Many Americans put off estate planning. While many do so because they don’t feel that they’re old enough to engage in it, others do because they don’t feel they have adequate assets to leave behind.

There’s so much more to estate planning besides passing on your assets to loved ones. The type of estate planning that you may want to do, the documents you may want to draft and why that’s the case may vary depending on the stage of life you’re in.

When you enter new adulthood

Your parents can make medical choices on your behalf until you turn 18. They’ll need to be appointed as your health care power of attorney for doctors to share your vital medical information after you become an adult.

As you launch your career

It’s also critical that you engage in estate planning, such as naming beneficiaries for insurance plans and your 401(k) when you start your career. Your loved ones may find it challenging to gain access to these valuable assets if you don’t designate how you want them handled.

When you marry

An important estate planning step when you marry is to appoint your spouse as having joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. Doing so will make it easier to pass your marital home to your husband or wife if you prematurely pass away.

It’s critical that you revisit your beneficiary designation at this state and if you divorce.

When children enter the picture

You should appoint your child a guardian the minute they’re born. This person will be able to step in and raise your child if you can’t. Setting up a trust to care for their future financial needs may also be necessary.

Which documents should form part of my estate plan?

Many different documents form part of the estate planning arsenal. Which ones you need depend on where you are in life, your employment situation and the assets you have. Estate planning resources can provide additional details on this important legal process that can protect your and your loved ones’ rights.