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When Should You Start Thinking About Estate Planning?

Discover the ideal time to begin estate planning with insights from Wood Law Group. Protect your legacy and ensure your wishes are honored.

When To Begin Estate Planning

Estate planning is an intricate process that encompasses a variety of steps, techniques, and legal documentation to facilitate the proper management of an individual’s property or estate during their lifetime and after death, and help protect the bulk of their estate from external threats or losses.

Many people believe that estate planning is solely for the wealthy, elderly, or terminally ill. However, this idea is false and could prove costly for those who uphold it. In reality, estate planning is an important step for adults of any age to consider, regardless of their state of health or financial future. 

An estate plan ( the output of the process) is a blueprint that can help you prepare for yourself and the future of your loved ones. So, if you don’t have one, it might be time to begin the estate planning process.

Our experienced estate planning lawyers at Wood Law Group can help you craft a unique estate plan tailored to your situation for peace of mind. 

In this guide, we discuss some of the common milestones that trigger thoughts of estate planning, its benefits, and some of the basic legal documentation you may need for  an effective estate plan. Read on to learn more.

Benefits of Estate Planning

Estate planning might be complicated, but the benefits far outweigh the time and effort required to create an effective plan.Some of its basic benefits include: 

Avoiding Inheritance Disputes: A well-crafted estate plan can help prevent family conflicts over asset distribution, thus safeguarding your legacy and minimizing disputes between your beneficiaries.

Tax Management: Strategic estate planning can minimize your estate’s tax obligations, potentially preserving more of your assets for your heirs. 

Probate Avoidance: Probate is a legal process through which the estate of a deceased person is administered and distributed under the supervision of a designated probate court. The process can be complicated and expensive. Estate planning can help you avoid the probate process on behalf of your future beneficiaries while ensuring that your assets are distributed among them according to your wishes. 

Asset Protection: Estate planning can help you secure your assets from losses during your lifetime and prevent your estate from being squandered or wasted by your beneficiaries after death. 

Common Reasons for Considering Estate Planning

For many people, estate planning becomes imperative when they experience certain life milestones or events, including the following :

  • Marriage and Divorce: Marriage and divorce are two significant milestones and variables that determine who gets what when a person dies under Nevada’s intestate succession laws. Therefore, the occurrence of each event may indicate that it is time to create an estate plan or adjust your existing plan to reflect your current wishes and realities.
  • Birth of a Child: Having a child typically leads to concerns about the child’s welfare and future for most parents. Parents in this position would need an estate plan to ensure that their children are provided for and that they will have a legal guardian to take care of them no matter what. 
  • Acquisition of Significant Assets: Whether you’re buying a home or starting a business, adding substantial assets to your estate could mean that it’s time to create or update your estate plan. Estate planning is vital for safeguarding your wealth from risks and ensuring your assets are managed according to your wishes at all times.
  • Retirement: This stage often brings about significant financial changes, making it a pivotal time to reassess or create your plan.
  • Serious or Long-Term Illness: When you’ve been diagnosed with a serious health condition that requires long-term care, planning ahead can provide peace of mind and financial security for you and your loved ones. In the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated, you can also save your family members lots of stress by appointing a person/healthcare proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf.

There are many reasons why a person may consider estate planning, depending on their unique situation. However, estate plans can only be effective if they are made long before the reason arises. Waiting too long to create an estate plan or execute the relevant legal documents can affect the validity of the documents and the entire estate plan. Therefore, if you do not have one, now is the right time to begin the process. 

Individual estate planning needs tend to evolve as a person grows older. Revisiting and updating your existing estate plan ensures that the instructions you leave through the plan reflect your current situation and future desires to better prepare you and your loved ones for tomorrow’s uncertainties.

Common Estate Planning Documents

An effective estate plan involves the creation and execution of certain legal documents. Each document has a specific purpose, and together, they allow you to specify comprehensive instructions to cover your different estate planning goals.

They include the following:

Wills

The Last Will and Testament is one of the key pillars of estate planning. This document outlines your wishes for how your property should be distributed after death. 

Without a will, you risk your estate being settled according to the Nevada Intestacy Laws, which may not align with your desires. 

Not having a will also leaves room for family and inheritance disputes that could shatter your peaceful family. You can avoid such issues by creating a will that details who gets what so there’s no room for controversy. 

Trusts

A Trust in Nevada is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer your property to another person or entity, known as a trustee, for the benefit of your loved ones or anyone you choose. There are different types of trusts, and depending on which one you choose, you can

    •  Manage your property throughout your lifetime 
    • Protect your assets from external threats, 
    • Help your beneficiaries avoid probate and  estate taxes 

    The type of trust you should create depends on your specific situation. Each one has unique legal and practical implications. So, it is important to get the proper guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney to help you make an informed decision.

    Powers of Attorney

    A power of attorney allows you to authorize another adult to act on your behalf for a specific and limited purpose or time or to perform wider functions for longer periods (e.g. until death).

    It’s a powerful tool to ensure that someone you trust is in charge of managing your affairs when you cannot.

    Under Nevada law, you can also create a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions to authorize someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacity. This document can guide healthcare professionals and your loved ones in making critical decisions during sensitive times.

    Each estate planning document must meet specific legal requirements to be valid. Understanding those requirements is paramount to ensuring that your estate plan is effective and works as it should. 

    How Wood Law Group Can Help

    The thought of estate planning can be overwhelming, and you might be wondering where to start. That’s where we come in.

    At Wood Law Group, we understand the significance of the estate planning process. While life’s milestones, like marriage or purchasing a home, often signal the need to think about the future, you don’t need to wait for those milestones to create an estate plan. As your estate planning attorneys, we can assess your situation and goals and help you craft an effective and comprehensive estate plan that caters to your future and those of your loved ones.

    As part of our services, we can help prepare the relevant estate planning documents and ensure that they meet the required legal standards so that your wishes can be enforced even in your absence. 

    We can also help  update your estate plan to reflect life changes, such as marriage, divorce, or remarriage, and ensure that new family dynamics are considered. 

    Our team is here to navigate these transitions with you, ensuring your estate plan evolves with your life’s journey, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. 

    Contact  Us at the Wood Law Group

    Every moment spent without a comprehensive plan is a risk taken with your legacy and your family’s future. That’s why you need to begin the planning process as soon as possible.

    Our team at the Wood Law Group can help you navigate the estate planning process so you can rest assured that your estate will be managed and protected according to your specific desires. 

    Contact us today for personalized estate planning services that safeguard your wishes and your family’s well-being. Let us help you secure your assets and your family’s future today.