The ultimate purpose of estate planning is to prepare for the end-of-life distribution of your assets, but to put it bluntly, the exercise is only going to be necessary if you have something to distribute. Therefore, you can’t put the carriage before the horse as they say, so you really have to engage is some intelligent retirement planning as part of a holistic approach to estate planning. And the sooner you get started doing so, the better.
Consider a hypothetical scenario where you are planning a family vacation, a road trip from Connecticut to Florida. You aren’t going to get into the car with no hotel reservations, no directions, no roadside assistance enrollment, no activity itinerary, no specific destination other than “Florida,” and with no particular budget in place. What you would do is decide exactly where you wanted to go, map out your route, make sure you were covered in case of car trouble, identify your hotel or hotels, and calculate just how much money you will need to make the trip comfortably.
This is exactly how one should approach retirement planning. You need to identify your goals, prepare for possible unknowns, estimate the financial resources you will need to reach these goals, and then work toward achieving them. The reason why we say that retirement planning should get underway as soon as possible is because the more time you give yourself to reach your goals, the more likely it is that you will reach your target.
So when you think estate planning it is wise to include retirement planning as well and discuss an overall strategy with your estate planning attorney. The key to a comfortable retirement punctuated by the ability to provide something for your family after you are gone is long term planning, and it is never too soon to get started.