Anticipation – When is the Right Time for Estate Planning?

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There was a famous Heinz ketchup commercial in my childhood that included part of the Carly Simon song Anticipation. The idea being that the wait, the anticipation, made the ketchup all the better. When it comes to estate planning, I often get the question – is it too soon for me to do estate planning? In other words - am I old enough yet? My somewhat tongue-in-cheek response is, “I don’t know, when are you going to die?” The implication in the question is that there is a “right” time to do estate planning. In all seriousness, the stark reality is we just don’t know when we will need our estate plans and therefore it is never too soon to begin your planning.This issue was brought to my mind again yesterday. I was talking with my mechanic about a motorcycle accident he was involved in that nearly took his life. He is a young man, but expressed how that had changed his view about the fragile nature of our existence and his need to get his affairs in order for his wife and children, because “you just don’t know.” I had a similar experience a little over ten years ago, at the age of 36 I nearly left my wife and four young children much too soon as a result of complications following knee surgery. Thankfully, I survived to fight another day. Each of us probably has a story of someone close that was not so fortunate and died or became incapacitated in a way that was unexpected and possibly unplanned for.Estate planning is really a gift for those we leave behind or those who will provide for our needs if we cannot. It is a way of smoothing what can be a very difficult transition. We may have different needs at different times of our lives, but there is always something that we can do to make the process easier for those we leave behind. In the case of estate planning, putting things off is procrastination, not anticipation. Wherever you are on the road, a qualified estate planning professional can help you achieve your hopes and eliminate your concerns by developing a well-drafted, customized, estate plan that suites your needs.