There are some people who think that estate planning involves nothing more than drawing up a last will, and they assume that they have plenty of time to do that in the future so they really don’t give the matter much thought. People who take this approach are not acting in light of any estate planning goals they may have. This is a personal choice and there are no absolute rights or wrongs, but there are others who have specific things they would like to be able to do for their loved ones after they pass away.
If you do have specific objectives with regard to your legacy, they are going to logically impact your actions in the present. This is why long-term financial planning, retirement planning, and estate planning all go hand-in-hand. There are folks who have those bumper stickers on their cars that say “We are busy spending our children’s inheritances.” These people need only plan to finance their own retirement years without having anything left over to leave behind to their families. But those who do have legacy goals will have to budget accordingly throughout their lives.
You’ll hear retirement planning attorneys say that you should start planning for your retirement early on during your working career, and many people hear this suggestion and let it go in one ear and out the other. However, if you stop for a moment and do the math, even if you save a relatively modest amount of money each month but do so over a sustained period of time it will add up considerably. The key is to get started early and be very consistent. If you do this and make intelligent investments along the way you should be able to meet all of your long-term financial goals.
If you recognize the need for comprehensive planning but don’t know where to begin, a wise first step would be to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you devise a holistic plan for the future.