Every life transition changes the person that we are. Graduating from High School or College, getting Married, starting a Business, or a Family – those are big life events that define new legal paradigms, and entail more responsibilities towards those who are close to us and/or depend on us.
Getting your affairs in order should start as soon as one graduates from High School. What better opportunity to start off a young adult on the path of being responsible and prepared for the legalities of adulthood. Advance Health Care Directives are a must for new College Students – and the only way the parents will legally be able to be kept informed about their child's health condition or medical affairs (especially in the event of a accident).
Starting a business –whether solo or with a partner – has a big impact on one's family in terms of succession planning (especially if a partner goes through divorce), and dealing with contracts and tax authorities. In this regard, having a Power of Attorney authorizing an Agent to step in and conduct business in even to incapacity, or having a Trust to provide succession to a business upon death, can be invaluable.
Getting married and starting a family is another huge life-milestone that brings on a complex set of legal rules that one should be aware of and plan for: a Premarital Agreement, a Family Trust, Powers of Attorney, allow the new couple to establish their own property rights and legal relationship - apart from what the legislator sets out, including issues surrounding Guardianships for a new baby.
As they say, at each stage of our lives, we are a different person. When such transitions occur, it is wise to consider the legalities that the new circumstances impose, and is best to be prepared and plan, rather than leave matters to chance, and the courts. This is the essence of estate planning – it is planning for your family's safety and security in the face of a legal crisis such as divorce, death or incapacity of a loved one or a business partner.