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Estate Planning Guide: When to Start Estate Planning

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | Estate Planning

You have probably heard that getting your affairs in order is a good idea so your loved ones are protected when you pass away or become incapacitated. But you may not know exactly when to start planning your estate. The answer? Now is always the best time to start the process.

When the unthinkable happens, an estate plan gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. It’s also something that you can update over time as life events change.

Batson Nolan PLC understands how challenging it can be for clients to approach an estate plan. Our team consists of knowledgeable attorneys who help clients navigate this important area. No matter the size of your estate or the reasons you have chosen to create a plan, we help you develop a personalized solution.

What Is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a set of instructions you leave to others (e.g., your family members) about how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death. You can also include documents in your estate plan giving instructions for what happens if you become incapacitated. The details you leave to others may encompass creating a trust for your long-term care or giving a family member the authority to sign documents or make medical decisions on your behalf.

Without a plan, the Tennessee default rules apply, which may not allow for the result you wish. Instead of leaving it up to chance, you can create an intentional, carefully thought-out plan to care for your loved ones when you pass away.

Types of Estate Planning Documents

There are many documents you can use to create an estate plan. The following are the most common types of estate planning documents:

    • Wills—these documents include a comprehensive plan for distributing and managing someone’s estate when they pass away;
  • Trusts—these instruments provide a plan for how to manage a portion of someone’s estate and provide benefits (such as periodic distributions) to named beneficiaries;
  • Powers of attorney—these documents allow you to give someone else the authority to make financial, healthcare and property decisions on your behalf under certain circumstances; and
  • Payable on death instruments—these assets include things like bank accounts and investment accounts, which allow you to name a secondary owner on the account who takes over when you pass away.

All or some of these documents may be used to create an appropriate estate plan. It depends on the person’s preferences, the complexity of their estate, and what is advisable in their circumstances. An estate planning lawyer helps individuals devise suitable end-of-life plans.

When to Start Estate Planning?

When thinking about creating an estate plan, many people assume they will have the time they need to take action. Or they may think it’s already too late, so doing something now would not make a difference. The truth is, the present is the best time to start estate planning.

If you have questions about the right timing for your estate plan, a knowledgeable lawyer can help.

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

After you create an estate plan, you may need to update it from time to time as life events change. As a general rule, anytime you undergo a life change, such as a marriage or divorce, welcoming a new family member, career shift, or change in net worth, it is an excellent time to revisit and possibly update your estate plan. Additionally, you can schedule routine legal check-ups to review your current estate plan to assess whether you should make any changes to your current strategy.

Contact Our Attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC for Help

Estate planning is a sensitive matter and should be done with care. Our attorneys cherish the partnership between the attorney and client and work with clients to create a personalized plan. We don’t believe in or use “cookie-cutter” solutions, especially when discussing someone’s legacy.

Since 1860, our firm has been a guiding force in Tennessee. The hard work, integrity, and dedication of our lawyers throughout the years have earned us a rating of AV Preeminent from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating available.

Contact our dedicated team today to begin your estate planning journey.