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  • Cindy Wysocki

When is it a good time to get an estate plan in place?

A good time to get an estate plan is… right now! If you have assets, property, loved ones or pets that you want to protect and provide for after your passing, then you need an estate plan. Here are some common life events and situations that may indicate it's a good time to consider creating or updating your estate plan:

  1. Marriage or Partnership: When you get married or enter into a domestic partnership, you may want to ensure that your spouse or partner is provided for in the event of your death.

  2. Having Children: Becoming a parent often prompts the need for an estate plan to name guardians for your minor children and to outline how your assets will be managed for their benefit.

  3. Accumulating Assets: As you acquire significant assets, such as a home, investments, or business interests, an estate plan can help ensure those assets are distributed according to your wishes.

  4. Health Concerns: If you have health issues, it's important to have a plan in place that outlines your medical preferences and designates someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You should get healthcare documents in place now before something happens that prevents you from doing so, such as incapacity.

  5. Divorce or Separation: If you experience a major life change like divorce or separation, you'll likely want to update your estate plan to reflect your new circumstances and remove your former spouse or partner from your plan.

  6. Retirement: When you retire, your financial situation may change, and you might want to update your estate plan to align with your new retirement goals and lifestyle.

  7. Starting a Business: If you start a business, an estate plan can address how your business interests will be handled upon your death.

  8. Receiving an Inheritance: Inheriting assets can prompt the need for estate planning to ensure that your newfound wealth is managed and distributed according to your wishes.

  9. Aging Parents: As your parents age, you might want to consider estate planning to help them manage their affairs and plan for their future care needs.

  10. Desire for Charitable Giving: If you want to leave a legacy through charitable donations, an estate plan can help facilitate your philanthropic goals.

It's important to note that estate planning is not just for the wealthy, which is a very common misconception. Everyone should consider creating an estate plan. Consulting with an attorney who specializes in estate planning can help you navigate the process and create a plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

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