Dental and Medical Counsel Blog

When is the Right Time to Create an Estate Plan?

December 9, 2020
Estate Planning Checklist

Sometimes, certain life events are what should cause you to establish your estate plan. Here are some common times when it makes sense to start thinking about your end-of-life documents:

  • When Purchasing Property Whether it’s a home or a business property, when you sign on a property purchase, especially commercial property, you need to have an estate plan in place. This protects your property from getting tied up in drawn-out probate proceedings. After purchasing property, consider establishing a trust that can keep that property out of the probate court and help your business continue.
  • After Starting a Practice – Even if you won’t be buying property, make sure you have a will and trust in place after you start your practice. Remember, many people rely on your practice for their own well-being, so the more protection you can provide, the better.
  • After Marriage, Divorce, or Remarriage – If your marital status changes, your estate plan needs to change as well to protect your new spouse.
  • Before Traveling – If you are planning an extensive travel experience, make sure your loved ones are protected before you leave.
  • At the Birth of Children or Grandchildren – An estate plan needs to be revisited whenever there is a birth in the family. This ensures that the new child or grandchild is provided for in the will or the trust. For children, part of the update needs to be the naming of a guardian if you are gone.
  • Upon Receipt of an Inheritance – If you receive a large inheritance, whether monetary or another type of asset, consider adjusting your estate plan. This is a good time to establish a trust, if you haven’t already done so, to protect valuable assets.

Most major life events require you to take a look at your estate plan. In the early days of your adult life, you need to have a will in place. After you have assets that are worth $100,000 or more, it may be valuable to discuss a trust with your estate planning attorney. Similarly, when you purchase commercial property or launch your practice, a trust is a wise investment. If you have children, make sure they are protected with guardianship as well.

Estate Planning Documents by Age

Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to break down estate planning documents by your age. The stage of life you are in will have a direct impact on what type of documents you need to have. Here is how that breaks down:

Estate Planning in Your 20s

As soon as you become a legal adult, you need to have some estate planning documents in place. Specifically, have these:

  • Healthcare Directive – This will tell your loved ones what actions you want to be taken if you are incapacitated and can’t make your own medical decisions.
  • Power of Attorney – This document names someone to make your non-medical decisions if you cannot make them for yourself.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney – This document names someone to make your healthcare decisions on your behalf.
  • Will – As soon as you start accumulating savings, make sure you have a will outlining who will inherit those assets.

Estate Planning in Your 30s

Most people will start their families and their careers in their 30s. As a medical or dental care provider, this can mean significant assets. Make sure those assets and your loved ones are protected with these documents:

  • Will – If you haven't already done so, make a will.
  • Trust – Transferring ownership of your assets to a trust can protect them from the probate courts. It can also make it easier for your beneficiaries to receive what you have saved for them if you pass away. Trusts are very flexible documents, so discuss the options with your legal team.

Estate Planning in Your 40s

By your 40s, you will hopefully already have a will, trust, and power of attorney documents in place. If not, that’s the first place to start. Once your plans are finalized, it’s time to talk to your parents. Make sure they have the right documents in place so you can protect them as they get older.

Estate Planning in Your 50s and 60s

At this point, you should have all of your estate planning documents in place, but many people do not. By the time you reach your 50s, you need to play catch up quickly to ensure everything is where it needs to be.

Estate Planning in Your 70s and Beyond

By the time you reach your 70s, you should have your estate plan fully completed. It needs to be clear and communicated with your beneficiaries. If you are still working, your business partners should also know where your documents are and what your plans for your practice are. During this stage of life, review and update your plan when your family or business circumstances change.

When Is the Best Time to Start Planning Your Estate? Now!

So, when should you start planning your estate? No matter your stage of life, the answer is right now. It’s never too soon to be thinking about your loved ones and your business and what will happen to them when you are gone.

If you are looking for help with an estate plan from a team of attorneys that understands the unique needs of medical and dental practitioners, reach out to Dental & Medical Counsel to schedule a complimentary consultation with Ali Oromchian. Let us help you create or update your estate plan to reflect your goals and your current stage of life.

Don't fall victim to estate planning pitfalls, contact us today!

Need Help with Your Estate Plan? Contact Us Today for a Complimentary  Consultation!


Subscribe to Our Blog

Stay updated with industry news!