People often ignore the need for estate planning until something happens that makes it very clear how important it is. For instance, maybe they have been thinking about it for five years, but they’ve never done anything. Then they have a heart attack. They survive thanks to quick medical care, but that event makes life feel more fragile, and they do their planning.
This is one reason that most people do not have an estate plan. They know they need it, but they’re procrastinating. It could take a crisis to get them to start.
But there’s a risk here. You can’t predict everything. You don’t know when your family will need that estate plan. You just don’t know what the future holds. If you put off your planning, as so many people do, you run the risk of never getting that plan filed in time.
The solution is to do your estate planning “too far” in advance. Do it even when you have decades left before you’ll need it. There’s no harm in having a plan that you don’t use. Plus, doing the planning early really gives you time to think it over and talk with your family, rather than just rushing to get something on paper. This tactic can help you create a plan that better fits your actual needs.
If that’s something you’re interested in doing, be sure you know what steps to take. There is a lot that goes into estate planning, from setting up how you will pass on your assets to addressing the need for — and the costs of — any long-term medical care.