Estate planning can seem like a complicated maze when you’re on the outside looking in. This perception of complexity leads a lot of people to procrastination when it comes to creating an estate plan because they are expecting it to be a daunting task and don’t know where to begin. Of course this is a very good reason to take the efficient route and develop a good working relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney early on in your life.
Most estate planning attorneys also engage in comprehensive long-term planning that would include retirement planning and incapacity planning. So, if you have a comprehensive plan in place as a young adult you’ll be on a course toward a comfortable retirement and the ability to leave behind a robust legacy after you pass away.
The above having been stated, to break it down to its simplest form there are three basic elements that you need to have in place even if your estate is not especially large and complicated. For one thing, you need to have a vehicle of income replacement in place, and for most people this is going to be life insurance. As your family grows you’ll have to revisit your life insurance coverage and make the appropriate adjustments so that your family would not be left in the lurch if your income was to suddenly disappear due to your untimely passing.
Of course you need a vehicle of asset transfer, and the most common one of these would be the last will. But, there are alternatives to the last will that are preferable for many and one of these that is commonly utilized is the revocable living trust.
And finally, you would do well to execute a living will and a durable medical power of attorney. With the living will you state your preferences regarding medical procedures such as the use of life-support systems to keep you alive if there was no hope of your recovery. The durable medical power of attorney is used to empower an agent to make medical decisions in your behalf should you become unable to do so.