We tell clients that it is never too early to begin estate planning. You've worked hard to build your estate, accumulating assets and some sense of financial stability. Planning now for the future can help retain your home and your savings in the event of a catastrophic illness or sudden death. Preplanning also will allow your loved ones to retain the assets to bequeath them when you are gone.
Estate planning is more complicated that leaving a will. You may wish to develop a Advance Health Care Directive, designating someone to make medical choices for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. You may also wish to ensure your loved ones do not have to pay exorbitant estate taxes, and work to ensure that you are medically and financially secure in your later years.
You can work with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine what financial assistance you may need under your health insurance plan, disability insurance plan and government benefits, should you need them. You also want to avoid property tax increases when assets are passed along to your children.
Michael Gilfix is an estate planning attorney in Palo Alto California and is one of the pioneers of elder law.