The best estate planning not only addresses our affairs after death, it also positions us to deal with our affairs under potentially adverse circumstances during our lifetime.
When people hear the term "estate planning," most immediately think of senior citizens, retirement, wills and perhaps funerals. While that may be your immediate reaction, it shouldn't be your only one. You should be thinking about estate planning throughout your life—more importantly, you should be doing something about estate planning now and from here on out.
This was the topic of a recent article in The Times of Trenton titled “The best estate planning covers all stages of life.”
For the new college graduate, estate planning can mean setting up a budget, putting away some savings and paying off student loans.
Just married? You should be planning now to provide for your spouse in the event of your death or disability.
When starting a family, it's never too soon to invest in a college savings fund and arrange for guardians (i.e., back-up parents) should your children become orphans.
As the nest empties, you might downsize your home to have more cash for investments and plan for the eventual efficient distribution of your estate. Annual gifting to your “adult” children can be very rewarding and a great way to test their financial maturity. Do they “blow it” or are they “good stewards” with it?
Finally, when retirement is right around the corner, you can feel good that you have planned for many years to stop working full-time and to devote your time to other interests. You've taken care of your spouse and family, and everything is in order.
Time to relax and enjoy!
Reference: The Times of Trenton, February 23, 2014: “The best estate planning covers all stages of life”