Estate planning is often associated with older individuals or those with substantial wealth, but it is equally important for young families. Planning ahead can help to make sure your loved ones are provided for and your assets are managed according to your wishes. No one likes to think about situations that may require estate planning when they are young and just starting their family, but nevertheless, it’s important for young families to make these considerations as well. Here are five key steps you can take now to secure your future.

Create a Will

A will is a fundamental document in any estate plan. It outlines how you want your assets to be distributed and can allow you to designate guardians for your minor children. Without a will, the court may decide who gets your property and who will care for your children, which might not align with your wishes. In case the unthinkable happens, it’s best to work with an estate planning attorney to make sure your will meets legal requirements. In addition, you’ll want to regularly review and update your will, especially after major life events like the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.

Establish a Trust

While a will is essential, a trust may also be necessary. A trust can provide additional benefits, such as avoiding probate, offering more control over how and when your assets are distributed, and providing more privacy. Trusts are especially useful if you’d like to manage assets for young children until they reach adulthood. Trusts aren’t needed for every family, so it’s important to work with an estate planning attorney to help you make the best decision for your specific situation and goals.

Designate Beneficiaries

Naming beneficiaries on accounts like life insurance, retirement plans, and bank accounts ensures that these assets transfer directly to your chosen individuals without going through probate. This is a simple step that won’t take much time but will result in a much smoother process should something unexpected happen to you. Beneficiary designations should align with your overall estate planning goals and wishes.

Finalize Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

Many estate planning documents are needed only after your death, but powers of attorney and healthcare directives will help someone make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. You can also outline your wishes for medical treatment if you are unable to communicate. This can be an uncomfortable step to take, but it’s imperative to prepare for these situations so your loved ones don’t find themselves trying to make decisions without knowledge of your wishes.

Plan for Emergencies

Read the news or scroll through your newsfeed for five minutes, and you’ll be armed with plenty of worst-case scenarios to remind you that it’s important to plan for emergencies. An essential part of estate planning for young families is preparing for these unexpected events. This includes having an emergency fund, adequate life insurance, and a clear plan for how to handle financial and healthcare decisions in a crisis. Hopefully you never need to execute these plans or dip into those funds, but at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared. This doesn’t mean you need to build a doomsday shelter, but it does mean that you make a plan in case something unforeseen happens.

Hopefully now you can see that estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy or the elderly; it’s also a critical step for young families who want to protect their loved ones and honor their wishes. It also can be a relatively simple and cost-effective process. By taking these steps into consideration and working with a trusted estate planning firm like Schromen Law, you can provide peace of mind and security for your family’s future. Contact us for a free consultation today!

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader.  The views expressed in this article are not a statement of support or endorsement by Schromen Law, LLC.  The information contained herein is not offered as legal or medical advice and should not be construed as legal or medical advice.

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