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When is an appropriate time for me to do my estate planning?

All to often I have surviving spouse's come into my office, or adult children of the decedent who did not have a Living Trust, and at that point obviously it's simply to late to do any estate planning and most often we end up going through the timely and expensive Probate process. This is particularly troubling when there are deceased parents of minor children because after the Probate, the Court will establish a Guardianship of the Estate (over the money) as well as a Guardianship of the Person (physical custody), and when the minor children each attain age 18 they get their entire inheritance outright with no conditions or restrictions whatsoever. For most eighteen year olds, while it was the parents intent to take care of their children, the result without the Living Trust is that they receive too much too soon which often times becomes detrimental to their lives. Therefore, the appropriate time to do your estate planning is now, and then, if necessary, to keep your estate plan updated as the age and maturity of your beneficiaries changes.