As you get older, something that is going to help you prepare for the end of your life is your estate plan. Your estate plan should include legal documents such as your will, health care directive and long-term care plans. Having all of these in place early in life will help protect you as you begin to age and get closer to retirement and old age.

Making your estate plan doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can go step by step, building on your estate plan over time. For example, if you’re in your 30’s now, you may only want to add your will and guardianship information for your child. In your 40s, you might want to add a trust and information about life insurance policies. In your 50s and 60s, you may start adding health care directives and setting up a designated health care proxy.

Everyone’s different, but with the help of your attorney, you can put together an estate plan that will work for you.

How early should you start planning?

There is no hard and fast rule on when you should start your estate planning, but the earlier you do it, the better your plan will be over time. You can begin setting up your estate plan at the age of 18, but many people begin once they start families or when they come into wealth. It’s up to you, but taking some time to set up a plan is the first step in protecting yourself if you fall ill or pass away unexpectedly. Our website has more on what you should know about setting up a new estate plan or building on one you already started.