While estate planning lawyers have seen first-hand how important the right legal documents are, we also understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to estate planning. For example, the needs of one family will likely be completely different from those of another. Likewise, a certain single professional may benefit greatly from working with an estate planning lawyer, while another would have very little need at this point in his or her career.
So, how do you know what you need? The real answer is probably that you should talk to an estate planning lawyer, but that sounds a little self-serving. Instead, here are a few circumstances to get you started, and if you find that they get you thinking about what might be right for you, then it’s probably time to hire an attorney.
Footloose and Fancy-Free
For those who haven’t gotten married or had children yet, it’s likely that you don’t have much need for an estate planning lawyer. The biggest exception, however, is the need to create medical directives. These are necessary for everyone to ensure that your wishes are followed when you are not able to speak for yourself. To be fair, the younger individual who has a lot of assets, lives a high-risk lifestyle, or is seriously ill would want to look into more in-depth estate planning services.
Once you’ve made a commitment to someone that stops short of marriage, you will likely want to get an estate planning lawyer involved. This is due to the need for a will to protect your partner and ensure that he or she is entitled to assets and the ability to make medical decisions for you, if that is what you prefer. The attorney will help you put together durable powers of attorney, as well as to help direct what happens to your shared and individual property should you pass away.
Married, With Children
If you have children, the need for an estate planning lawyer becomes increasingly urgent. One of the most important things you’ll want to do is to name a legal guardian for any minor children. Along those same lines, you will probably want to use your estate plan to help create a financial plan that will support those young children should you be unexpectedly killed or incapacitated. This might include setting up some kind of a trust that will be managed for their care.
A Little Gray
Watching the kids grow up and seeing retirement ahead certainly do lead many of us to start thinking about estate planning. At this point in life, you’re interested in saving for your own future, as well putting together a plan for what you leave behind. An Orange County trust lawyer is essential at this point to make sure you are maximizing your assets, avoiding unnecessary taxes, and making sure that your wishes are clearly laid out.
Facing Your Own Mortality
There are points in our lives where we are faced with our own mortality, and these are often the impetus for getting in touch with an estate planning lawyer. For example, if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may find it comforting to get your affairs in order. Likewise, elderly folks generally find that they have reached a point where it makes sense to determine their legacies through estate planning.
If any of these situations resonate with you, it may be time to consider the services of an estate planning attorney. He or she can help you work through your desires and create the appropriate set of legal documents that best meet your needs. Most importantly, by forming a relationship now with an attorney, he or she can help you make great choices based on the stage of life you are in. Staying one step ahead of the game is always best, and through proper legal planning, your lawyer can make sure you are positioned for whole-life security and success.