It is important to have the proper estate planning in place no matter what age you are, to ensure your wishes are followed in the event of an unexpected health emergency or death.
Estate planning isn’t something you do in old age, or just after you have children. There are actually many significant decisions to consider as soon as you turn 18, so it is important to put the right information together to protect yourself, your wishes, and your family in the event of unexpected death or disability. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can save yourself and your family a lot of hassle depending on the situation that arises.
Not sure where to start? We have created a useful guide to outline the important items to prepare for at different stages of life:
Early Single Adulthood – As soon as a person turns eighteen, their parents no longer have the authority to make decisions or act on their behalf. This can complicate things if a person is in an accident or is disabled in some way and their family cannot direct their medical care without prior court approval. To avoid this kind of situation, young adults should complete a health care proxy form that dictates who can make medical decisions on their behalf in the event of an emergency. Another important document to create is a durable power of attorney to assure that someone can manage financial affairs for the young adult if they are unable to manage them for any reason.
If you are employed and have a retirement or insurance fund that would be dispersed to beneficiaries upon your death, it is important to ensure you have filled out the proper information naming those beneficiaries. At this point in life, you may also choose to create a basic will which would designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries for any assets you may leave behind if you die.
Marriage or Serious Relationship – Once you have found your significant other, it may be necessary to update your will and power of attorney, and health care proxy form. This will allow your partner to make decisions for you in an emergency and can clear up confusion or disputations in court should the situation arise. Married couples have more protection under the law in regards to determining who keeps assets if the spouse passes away. In most cases, the living spouse assumes the property and is not subject to gift taxes.
It is even more important in a non-marital relationship or a same-sex relationship, to consult an attorney to learn your legal rights in your intended state of residence, and plan for each individual’s desires, when the legal rights may be unknown and in a state of change.
Children – If you have children, it is time to get serious about setting up a will. It is important to name a guardian who will care for your children if you and your spouse die. It is also important to consider who will be the beneficiary in the event of the death of either parent. You need to consider how any life insurance funds will be distributed and who will be the beneficiary of such funds. At this point, it is recommended that you speak with a lawyer to ensure you have covered all the important aspects of providing for the future of your children so you can be sure your own wishes are carried out correctly.
Remarriage – If you are entering into a second marriage (or third or fourth!) then it will once again be necessary to update your living will, health care proxy form, and will. You will need to consider how you divide your estate among your new family and when and how each person will receive their portion. This is another time that the professional assistance of an estate planning lawyer is especially helpful, and even critical.
Substantial Estate – As you accumulate income, assets, and property it is important to consult an estate planning lawyer to ensure you are setting up your will or trust correctly to plan for the disbursement of your estate. It may be necessary to consider the tax obligations tied to each asset and to plan how and when you pass on your estate.
No matter what stage of life you are in, it is never too early to plan. Your family and loved ones will appreciate your diligence and you can have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out appropriately following your passing.
Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC
Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing our clients with the guidance and support that they need to resolve their estate planning issues. With over five decades of serving clients in Southeastern Michigan, the attorneys of Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC have the knowledge and resources to resolve your issues.
No two families are alike and our attorneys are qualified to handle every type of estate planning situation, no matter how confusing or complex it may seem. We stay up to date on state and federal laws concerning estate planning and the latest laws regarding Medicare changes, Medicaid changes or nursing home issues. Our attorneys will provide you with the guidance you need and the service you expect so that you and your family get the result you want and the protection that you deserve.
Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC
28345 Beck Road, Suite 301
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone: (248) 869-0030
Fax: (248) 869-0039