By Rory S. Morse, Esq.

When is the right time for estate planning? The answer will be familiar to anyone who is used to speaking with lawyers: “it depends.”

Most people with whom we speak understand the importance of creating an estate plan, but we have rarely spoken with two people who agree on the best time to create a plan.  There are many factors and events in our lives that can influence the best time to get started

Significant life events create a sense of urgency for estate planning.  Buying your first home or having your first child are big events that will likely push you towards getting a plan in place.  These events create a deeper sense of responsibility to plan for the unexpected: what would happen if there were a catastrophic medical event, if you were unable to make financial decisions for yourself, of if there were a premature death.  An estate plan allows us to exert control over things that feel uncontrollable.

Two other very practical factors come to mind that may influence when it is time to start an estate plan.  The first is a feeling that there is enough time in your schedule to start what may feel like “a new project.”  Many people think it will take a significant time investment to complete the estate planning process. While several meetings are sometimes (but not always) necessary, the time investment needed to complete an estate plan will often total less than five hours, including the time you spend with the attorney. Planning requires careful thought, serious discussion, and honest decision making, but the actual time required may be less than you think.

The second factor is a willingness to start.  Estate planning is often viewed as an unpleasant topic of discussion. Sometimes this is true, but confronting something head-on is often the best way to understand it.  Understanding the “pain points” or what your fears are as they relate to this type of planning is often the best way to make sure you get started.

While the thought of these discussions may seem unpleasant, the process is likely much easier than you think. And remember, avoiding this topic is essentially a decision in itself: a decision to let the default Minnesota laws govern what happens to you, your things, and your loved ones. There is peace of mind in knowing loved ones will be cared-for and that resources will be used in the way that best benefit your family.

There are many things in life that we cannot control, but here is one thing we can: when and how we choose to begin our planning.  Making estate planning a priority by putting a plan in place will bring peace of mind knowing that you and those you care for most are covered.

A professionally created estate plan brings security to your family and makes difficult things easier. Contact a qualified attorney to get started.