You may feel that you are too young to start planning your estate. But even if you still have many years before you retire, you should start thinking about the future now.

Estate planning helps to protect you and your family from the unexpected. Planning ahead makes sure you can direct where your assets go. It also lets you fill out important documents like a power of attorney or an advance health care directive. Having these documents in place ensures that you and your family have a plan if you should fall victim to illness or injury.

Giving your family access to needed funds

While you still may feel you have a long and healthy life, accidents or illnesses can happen unexpectedly. If you pass away without a plan in place, you leave your family with hospital and funeral costs while your assets remain tied up in probate court. Planning early makes sure that your family has access to funds that don’t have to go through probate court.

Helping you plan for medical care

An accident or illness can also put you in the hospital, unable to communicate wishes for your medical care. If you plan early, you can fill out an advance health care directive. An advance health care directive lets you list out your wishes for medical care in different situations. You can also choose a medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney is someone you trust to make medical decisions for you.

By filling out these documents early, you get the care you want, and your family doesn’t have to make a tough decision for you.

Protecting your family

Making decisions about the future can be difficult. It asks you to think about what happens after you have passed away or are no longer able to communicate your wishes. But planning early protects your family from increased stress in a tough time.