Many people question when they should start their estate planning. The short answer to this is that there is no specific age someone should see an attorney to plan their Will, Financial Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Healthcare. However, you do need to be a minimum of 18 years of age.
If you know a major event is going to happen in your life such as marriage, the birth of a child, retirement, or divorce it is time to start planning your estate. However, there are some major life events that we simply cannot anticipate, including contracting a terminal illness, receiving a large sum of money, or even a fall out with a family member. So it is always good to be prepared.
This brings us to another factor to consider when you begin to plan your Will, Financial Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive for Healthcare. You should take into account the size of your family and if you are married. If you have assets that you own with a spouse, such as a house, a car or a bank account, your assets automatically go to your surviving spouse through Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.
However, this plan only worked properly if you have no children from any other relationships. If you have children from another relationship, a Will must be created so your assets can be divided up to care for both your new spouse and children from your previous relationship. In other words, if you are in a non-traditional relationship, it is much more important for you to do proper planning.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to realize is that you want to have your estate plan in place before you need it. The more complicated the plan, the earlier you should start.