When you hear people describe you as full of life or having your whole life before you, it may not stir in you concerns about creating an estate plan. In fact, those comments may keep worries about the end of your life far from your mind or convince you that you can postpone planning your estate perhaps for decades. After all, there is no point in creating a will or trust if you have not even married or considered having children.
The truth is that life is fragile, and an estate plan can be a comfort to your loved ones at any stage of your life. Creating an estate plan now will provide you a foundation on which to build your plans for the future.
How your plan can change with you
No one's life remains stagnant. People come and go from your life, and your assets will change. You may change jobs, start your own business or find yourself living somewhere far away from North Carolina at some point in your life. The choices you make in your estate plan can grow and change with you, providing protections for you and your loved ones that should not be reserved only for your senior years.
As a single person, you can protect yourself with a power of attorney who can speak in your name for your medical and financial needs if you ever become incapacitated and unable to express your wishes. Your estate plan can also assign your assets to whomever you choose since you may not yet have any natural beneficiaries. As time passes, you can adjust your estate plan in these ways:
- Changing your POA and beneficiaries when you marry
- Creating a trust to protect your marital estate from tax ramifications
- Creating a trust for your children's education or for your child with special needs
- Naming a guardian for your children
- Establishing a retirement plan
- Adjusting your will to include children or grandchildren
- Amending your plan to reflect changes in your marital or financial status
As you grow older, you can discuss with your attorney the option of including a charitable trust in your estate plan, and you can even learn of options for expressing your wishes for the end of your life and your funeral or memorial arrangements.
As you can see, the concerns that you will outgrow your estate plan if you make it while you are young are unfounded. By establishing your goals early, you and your loved ones may have more opportunities to take advantage of the many benefits a solid and comprehensive estate plan can offer.