The Right Time to Do Estate Planning

One question I get about estate planning is, “when should we start planning?” Sometimes it is phrased as “aren’t we too young to think about this?”

The short answer is – it can only be too late to plan, never too early. Let me explain.

Suppose your wife suffers a medical tragedy and is unable to care for herself. Or, suppose you die while working out at the gym of a heart attack. (It happens, gentlemen.) When are you going to plan then?

The fact is that most of us will live long, healthy lives. But, just like auto insurance, you do not plan because you insist on getting in an accident. You do it just in case.

Time and again I am called by people trying to fix a situation that could have been prevented. If your spouse, or parent, becomes legally incompetent to sign documents, that would be no problem if you had proper estate planning done before. If you are in a hospital unable to make your wishes known, that would be no problem if you had proper estate planning before.

A final note: some planning must be done years before the expected event, because of a thing called a “look back period.” Essentially, there are areas of law where someone is allowed to “look back” several years and, if you did not do your planning before the “look back” date, it will be as if you had not done any planning at all.

Do your planning now. Check it off your list, and then get on with life.

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