an image of a young couple and their baby

Estate planning is an essential legal and financial component of planning for the future. An estate plan designates who will make decisions for you, take care of your children, and receive your assets in case you become incapacitated or pass away. While you may not feel like you need an estate plan at the moment, we all know life can be unpredictable, and it is crucial to have a strategy in place so that your loved ones are not left with a legal and financial mess.

At The Law Offices of Janis A Carney in Silicon Valley, our legal team helps people develop and update estate plans, regardless of the stage of life they are currently at. We pride ourselves on getting to know our clients, learning their interests and needs, and developing plans that effectively address their wishes. In today’s blog post, we will outline five times in life in which you should consider developing or updating an estate plan. Be sure to keep reading if you are unsure whether now is the time you should get started.


Your 18th Birthday

While you may have assumed that estate planning is only for the elderly, turning 18 years old actually presents a fantastic opportunity to put the framework of an estate plan in place. Once a minor turns 18 years old, their parents are no longer able to make health and legal decisions for them. For that reason, you should consider talking with an estate planning attorney when you turn 18 or soon after.

An estate planning attorney can help you set up an advance health care directive, which is a legal document that specifies who can make medical decisions for you in case you are unable to make them yourself. While it may seem unnecessary at the time, an advance health care directive is essential if you become seriously injured or ill. Sitting down with an attorney this early in life also means you will put the basics of an estate plan in place so that you can simply update your plan as you continue journeying through life.

Getting Married

Between wedding planning, changing names, combining assets, and setting off on a honeymoon, there is a good deal of planning that goes into getting married. Unfortunately, developing or updating an estate plan often gets lost in the shuffle.

Although it is often forgotten about, it is essential to update or develop an estate plan after you get married. By sitting down with an attorney, you and your spouse will get a chance to go over your assets, create legal and financial strategies for worst-case scenarios, and develop a plan centered around your life goals as a couple. Be sure to schedule an appointment with an attorney before the big day

Buying a Home

Whether you buy a house before getting married or a few years after, it should act as a reminder to briefly review the details of your estate plan, or develop a plan if you have not yet had the chance to create one. Buying a house is a major purchase, and the vast majority of people need to take out a mortgage to buy their home. Since mortgages are long-term financial commitments, it would be wise to update your estate plan to account for a mortgage.

An attorney will help you understand the components you should consider in your estate plan and how owning a home affects those components. Moreover, you will get the chance to determine who receives assets such as your new home in the case of your death.

Having Children

The birth of a child is a wonderful event that often brings families closer together. Moreover, the addition of a new family member is a good reminder to review your estate plan and ensure that your new child will always receive the care they need while growing up.

There are numerous things to do to prepare for the birth of a child, and there is even more to consider once the child is born. Estate planning is something you should not ignore at this stage. By putting an estate plan in place, you not only help ensure that your child has care, but also that they have the financial assets they need throughout childhood and into adulthood. Naming guardians and determining who gets your assets in a will is often a good way to avoid the stress of family court and figuring out who will take care of your children in the event of your passing.

Your 40th Birthday

Turning 40 is a fantastic time to develop an estate plan if you haven’t already created one. Most people don’t have a plan in place before they turn 40. If you have already created an estate plan by your 40th birthday, give yourself a pat on the back and be sure to call your attorney to update the details on your plan.

By the time you turn 40, you are well into adulthood. You have had ample opportunity to acquire assets, and your life probably has a clearer trajectory than it did when you turned 18. This means that you can make a detailed estate plan that you can simply make slight changes to over the remainder of life.

At this point in life, you should also check in on the estate plan of your parents if you have not already done so. Be sure that your parents have taken stock of their assets and given you a good idea of what should occur if they become incapacitated or pass away. By helping your parents flesh out their estate plans, you will gain a clearer idea of the circumstances and details you should account for in your own plan.

The Law Offices of Janis A. Carney Can Help

The five common life events above serve as excellent reminders to create an estate plan or to update your current plan. These are not the only events that should remind you to get a plan in place, but they are some of the most common. If you are unsure whether you should update your current plan or start a plan, then be sure to contact our offices. Our team will help you.

At The Law Offices of Janis A Carney, we take great pride in helping people strategize how they will manage their legal and financial affairs through major life events. By sitting down with an expert estate planning attorney like Janis Carney, you get the chance to look out for your loved ones now and into the future. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment and get started.