Unfortunately, unsuspected events happen every day and, while they may be difficult to think about and impossible to prevent, it is incredibly important to be prepared. Death and sickness are inevitable parts of our lives and they often catch us by surprise. Loss of income is another example of a difficult event. However, it’s important to remain balanced, even when caught off guard. To do this, many people plan ahead with wills and estate lawyers, who help form a plan in the event of the worst possible scenario.
Poor planning can often lead to many problems for loved ones, when a family member or friend becomes ill or passes away, as well as for ourselves, should we suddenly lose our source or income. Thankfully there are ways to combat this! It’s important to start early. Even if it seems that you don’t currently have a lot of wealth, you still likely own some possessions. So here are some ways to better plan for the future:
First, you should always have an emergency fund. Different people and advisors will define this with different methods. Some recommend maintaining an emergency fund of two months’ worth of net income, while others recommend maintaining enough to pay three-months worth of bills. Regardless of which is best for your situation, an emergency fund will help you to be properly prepared if you suddenly lose your main source of income. In fact, nearly half of American households do not have enough in financial assets to support themselves for three months. Because it can be difficult to find a new source of income, this problem can quickly snowball if you’re not prepared.
Planning for retirement is another important way to be better prepared for the future. While retirement is far more predictable, it is still important when we begin to plan ahead. By putting away a certain amount of income every month, you can ensure its growth over the years. This will allow you to retire with enough to survive and even enjoy life more comfortably, particularly when it becomes too difficult to continue to work.
Creating a will is the next important step in planning for the future, and can often be accomplished with the help of wills and estate lawyers. A will allows you to determine how your estate and personal possessions will be distributed. Without a will, it is left up to the closest relatives to determine how such effects should be distributed and this can be very difficult for loved ones. If you have young children, a will becomes especially important. If something were to happen to you, there are likely very few people you trust to raise your children, and a will allows you to designate a guardian in this event. More than half of adults do not have a will in place. Be sure to work with lawyers and create a will so that you can be prepared!
Trusts are also important tools, and are often considered to be more flexible than wills. While a will distributes property at one time, trusts allow you to determine the best time for it to be distributed — even if that means distributing it in stages or only for specific situations.
This is a brief overview of ways to better plan ahead. Many people believe planning ahead, such as creating a will, is too expensive, complicated, and unnecessary. However, planning ahead can ease tensions amongst family members when going through difficult times. So, be sure to discuss with your wills and estate lawyers just what else is important to consider for your particular situation. You’ll be glad you did!