“If you have assets or a disabled child, estate planning is essential to ensure your wishes are met,” Salazar says. “If you lose capacity or should you pass away, there will not be any questions. Whomever you are appointing has guidelines and it makes it much easier than having to figure out what you would have wanted. No one will know that.”
Some families opt for a living trust in lieu of a will. A living trust is a legal document that allows your estate to avoid probate and directs a Trustee to distribute your trust estate pursuant to your wishes. This option avoids the process of probate, which is the lengthy and costly process whereby the court appoints an executor nominated in a Last Will. It could take months or years before an executor is appointed. This may not be ideal if you want your spouse and children to have immediate access to your assets.
Salazar says that unfortunately the majority of her clients begin estate planning over the age 50. She says it’s not a good idea to wait this long because accidents or unforeseen events can happen. Even if you do not have kids, it is still encouraged to make sure there is an agent to make proper arrangements for you and your partner.
“It is something that you don’t want to think about, but you need to ask the questions: what if this happens to me? How can I make this easier for my loved ones?” Salazar says. These are questions that no one wants to think about but ones that we really should.
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