Knowing When to Create an Estate Plan

People sometimes think estate planning is only for the older generation. But it’s really something to consider at all ages. In fact, there’s more than one valid reason to create an estate plan no matter how old you are. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the estate planning needs for people at all stages of life.

Children Don’t Need to Create an Estate Plan

However, the presence of children is a great reason for their parents to do so. It’s important for parents to create an estate plan so they can:

  • Leave a plan to distribute their property after they are gone,
  • Name an agent to handle their affairs if they become incapacitated, and
  • Tell medical professionals their end-of-life treatment preferences.

But the most important reason is so they can name one or more guardians to raise their minor children if they pass away.

Working Age Adults Have a Wide Range of Estate Planning Concerns

Here, the reasons to create an estate plan vary according to age and lifestyle.

Like all of us, younger adults need a Will that can distribute their possessions after death even if they don’t own very much yet. Other documents – like a durable power of attorney – also help their families deal with unexpected incapacity or serious medical conditions. Young parents also may want to create an estate plan to secure their children’s futures.

Adults closer to middle age might be dealing with vastly different issues. On the one hand, they might have college-age children. However, at this age they might also need to plan for retirement and long-term care. Medicaid planning could become a concern. Talk to an attorney about how to create an estate plan.

As people approach retirement, their goals change again. Their children, if they have any, may be independent now. Leaving an inheritance for the family is usually a primary concern. But people also might focus on how their families will handle an inheritance. In some situations, creating a trust might become an integral way to protect heirs and aid in Medicaid planning or to protect children with a disability.  As we age the possibility of needing long term care increases.  The need to plan for the financing of long term care costs becomes more of a priority.  Medicaid planning and long term care insurance become part of the discussion.

Senior Adults Usually Need to Create or Update Their Estate Plans

After age 65 or so, many people already have created an estate plan. Hopefully, they have updated it as well. It’s critical for estate planning documents to reflect changes in your life. This is a great time to review your estate plans with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Your estate plan could save your family the time and stress of not knowing how to deal with incapacity. At some point, they might have to get a court-appointed guardian to handle your affairs and medical treatment. A properly-drafted durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney could take effect immediately if you become incapacitated.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney to Discuss When to Create an Estate Plan

Everyone, no matter their age, needs an estate plan. Typically, this includes a Last Will and Testament, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and advance directive. We can help.  An elder law attorney can guide you through the long term care planning options and help you protect your assets for the benefit if your partner or children.

Attorney Robert Slutsky was one of the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to focus on elder law issues. Since 1992, he has helped countless people plan for their future, set up proper estate plans, plan to protect assets and care for loved ones, and successfully apply for Medicaid.

Please give us a call at (610) 940-0650 or contact us through our website. We have been serving clients throughout Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Philadelphia Counties and beyond for almost three decades.

For a listing of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, please check out our Chester County PA Elder Law Directory and Senior Guide online at:

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