“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” —Confucius
Planning ahead matters. Just ask Confucius! Whether you are creating a game plan for how to complete the week’s workload or planning the vacation of your dreams, strategizing and planning ahead are important elements in accomplishing any task. Sure, many people scrape by without planning anything a day in their lives. But those who plan ahead set themselves up for success no matter what unexpected twists and turns they may face.
The Best Time to Start Estate Planning
When it comes to estate planning, many people carry the default assumption that it is too soon to plan. They know that trusts and wills are important, but they would rather put their time and money into something that they feel is more relevant. After all, they can create an estate plan at a better time, right?
While we understand this sentiment, we encourage people to look at the big picture. There is no “better time” to start estate planning. Waiting until something goes wrong to create a plan is like waiting for a car accident before purchasing car insurance. It just doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, many people wait to create an estate plan until it is too late. This will result in court-ordered guardianship, inability to communicate wishes, ineffective tax planning, family disputes, etc. The best time to begin estate planning is when you don’t need one!
Tips for Getting Started
Basically, now is the best time to begin planning your estate. To start you on your journey, we have compiled this list of helpful tips.
- Set a Deadline: If estate planning is at the bottom of your current to-do list, chances are it will stay there. Try setting a deadline for yourself to make sure it actually gets done. Whether your deadline is a month out or a year out, stick to it!
- Get Organized: Getting a hold of your financial situation isn’t always easy, but it is definitely worth it. Create a personal balance sheet that includes your assets, their market values, any debts against them, and the resulting net values. Include real estate, cars, bank accounts stocks, bonds, IRAs, pension plans, etc. as well as a listing of all debts associated with personal loans and credit cards.
- Choose With Whom You Wish to Leave an Inheritance: This list may include your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, life partners, friends, etc. You can also choose to allocate resources to a charitable organization.
- Consider Whom You’d Like to Make Healthcare Decisions on Your Behalf: If you happen to be unable to make health care decisions for yourself at any point, you will want to have a point person designated in your will. You can also indicate specific wishes or instruction about your care, including a choice between hospitals, assisted living facilities, home care, etc.
Estate Planning in Texas and New Mexico
If you would like assistance with the complex elements of estate planning, the professionals at Clifford, Ross, Raudenbush & Cooper, LLC are available to help. Contact us at our El Paso, TX or Las Cruces, NM locations today!