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When Is It the Right Time to Start Estate Planning?

Elderly Couple Estate Planning

When talking to clients about their estate planning goals and the general process, we are frequently asked about when a person or couple should start putting together their plan. Clients often set points in their life for when they believe an estate plan should be completed. For some, it is after retirement. For others, it is after they have been retired a number of years. Others believe that you should only start looking at an estate plan when you have ailing health.

While these are certainly good times to think about your estate plan options, we don’t recommend putting it off until some indefinite date in the future.

Simply put, your estate plan should be done sooner rather than later.

When Is It Too Late to Start Drafting an Estate Plan?

This may seem dramatic, or perhaps obvious, but you really should have your estate plan completed before it’s too late. Unfortunately, we have run into a common problem many times in the past few years where a potential client has failed to formalize their plan before passing away or succumbing to a mind-altering condition. Sometimes, this problem comes to light when a son or daughter calls to make an appointment for their parent who is already suffering from the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

More often than not, clients that are suffering from mind-altering diseases do not have the mental capacity to prepare an estate plan. In that circumstance, it is simply too late to start the process. If they failed to draft their plan before becoming incapacitated, then it’s ethically wrong and legally impossible to make decisions about their estate without their lawful consent.

Need Life Insurance? Then You Need a Plan

One rule of thumb that can be used to determine if you need an estate plan is to consider whether you need life insurance. If you believe your family should be protected by a life insurance policy, then they should be protected by an estate plan as well.

Likewise, if you think you need to buy life insurance to pay down large debts in the case of death, you should probably also have an estate plan. At the same time, you should probably review your estate plan and your life insurance on a yearly calendar as well.

Let Us Help You Create an Estate Plan

The estate planning attorneys at Penzien & McBride, PLLC have been helping families and business owners make these types of decisions for nearly two decades. Reach out if you are looking for a compassionate and experienced legal professional to guide you through each step of the estate planning process.

Call Penzien & McBride, PLLC at (586) 690-4400 to learn more about our estate planning and probate administration services. Our offices are located in Chesterfield Township and are easily accessible for the surrounding communities of New Baltimore, Macomb Township, and Harrison Township.

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