As we have discussed in a past blog post, roughly half of adults over 55 do not have any form of an estate plan in place.
This is often due to individuals putting off estate planning because they think they do not have enough assets, or they are too young to think about planning for the end of their life. This might lead many people to wonder: what is the right age to make an estate plan?
Legally, individuals can make a Will once they turn 18.
Under New Jersey law, an individual can create a valid Will if:
- They are at least 18 years old; and
- They are of sound mind.
Even so, age is a common excuse people use to avoid estate planning. Many people might think that 18 is far too young an age to begin thinking about one’s wishes for the end of their life.
However, 18 is the “age of majority,” or when individuals become an adult under the law. In turn, that means that one’s parents no longer have the legal right to make a decision on their child’s behalf anymore – such as healthcare or financial decisions.
So, when should you start your estate plan?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question.
When it comes to estate planning, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There is no particular age at which all individuals should start making their estate plans. It will be different for everyone.
Not many people do create a Will or other estate planning documents when they turn 18. Many people wish to wait until:
- They get married;
- They have children; or
- They purchase a home.
It is not inherently bad to wait until one reaches these milestones. However, it is important to remember one thing: it is never too early to make an estate plan, even if it only is to name the person responsible for managing your affairs.
No one can predict what will happen in the future, but an estate plan can help anyone prepare for any possibility, no matter their age.