Americans generally do not start planning for their estates until they think their plans could possibly go into effect soon and they fear the consequences of not having a plan. Americans do not engage in estate planning until they get older. This is unfortunate.
Other life events should trigger proper estate planning much sooner. This includes events like getting married or having children. Nevertheless, some people put estate planning off until they reach the age of retirement. The Times Herald-Record recently weighed in on this topic in "When to start an estate plan."
Once someone reaches the age of 18, they need to start estate planning. Everyone at this point needs to at least have power of attorney and advance health care directives drawn up, so someone can assist them if they have an accident and are incapacitated. Once a person reaches the typical age of legal adulthood, their parents can no longer assist them without first going to court. Most 18-year old individuals can probably get away without also creating a will. However, there is little reason not to get a simple one while at the estate planning attorney’s office getting a power of attorney and advance health care directive prepared.
Once you have some people and property to protect, it is a good idea to decide how to protect the people and distribute the property after you pass away. The best way to do that is to get an estate plan.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (June 23, 2018) "When to start an estate plan."