Estate planning can be done in a very surface manner and viewed as nothing more than deciding on a way to transfer whatever you happen to have left after you pass away to your family members. However, some people take their legacies a lot more seriously, and they have specific things in mind that they would like to be able to do for their loved ones.
When you are considering your own mortality you may also feel the need to give something back to those less fortunate than you, and many choose to include a charitable giving component in their their estate plans. So, unless you happen to be extraordinarily wealthy, when you have specific goals in mind with regard to what you would like to be able to accomplish with your estate you have to plan in advance to be able to reach them.
This is why retirement planning and estate planning go hand-in-hand. When you are planning for retirement you have to ask yourself the question of whether or not you feel strongly about being able to leave behind a particular legacy. A lot of the financial decisions that you make during your retirement years will have a direct impact on what it is that you are able to do for your loved ones and any charitable causes that you may want to support with a parting gift.
Clearly, the earlier you get started taking action toward reaching your long-term goals the better. To meet these objectives, most people would do well to consult with an estate planning attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of long-term financial planning. When you have an intelligently conceived framework to guide you it is relatively easy to stay on course and make steady progress throughout your life. Then when your retirement years arrive, you can move forward comfortable in the knowledge that you have all your ducks in a row.