Ask someone if they will eventually need an estate plan, and they’ll tell you that they will. Ask them if they have one, and they’ll likely say they don’t. Ask them why, and they may tell you that they’re going to do it when they’re older.
As it turns out, estate planning is one of the main things that people procrastinate, often simply because they imagine needing the plan in their 70s or 80s, so it doesn’t really feel necessary earlier in life. They figure they need to set up the plan before they pass away, but they have a lot of time between now and then. Even those in their 50s or 60s assume they have decades left to get around to it.
This is a big risk. Life is not that predictable. You cannot just look at the life expectancy and determine when you’ll need the plan. Some people live into their 90s. Others pass away unexpectedly in their 30s or 40s. You cannot possibly know which group you fall into in advance.
The best course of action, many financial experts believe, is just to create a plan long before you need it. You can always update it. You can always change it. If you still live for 50 more years and don’t use the plan, that doesn’t hurt anything. Why take the risk? It’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it, and that’s really the approach people need to take with estate planning.
If you want to get started, you need to know what steps to take.