Many people in South Carolina in their 20s and 30s might have put off creating an estate plan because they assumed they did not need one or they simply did not know where to begin. An estate plan can be complex, with many documents, but there are a few basic elements that are generally needed.

Your future health care and finances

Estate planning does not just mean planning for what will happen to your assets. It can also involve a plan for someone to take over your finances and health care if you are injured or ill and unable to do so. A durable power of attorney gives someone financial power while a health care proxy can appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. Although you might feel you are too young for it, you may also want to consider a living will, which outlines your wishes for care at the end of your life.

Your assets

Even if you plan to use one or more trusts to pass most of your assets, you probably also need a will. A will can also appoint a guardian for minor children. Some people prefer to place some or all of their assets in a revocable trust, which you control and can even revoke while you are still alive.

If you have a fairly simple estate, you might be tempted to use a do-it-yourself plan, but it is generally not advisable. An attorney can be valuable in ensuring there are no ambiguities in your legal language and that your documents are prepared correctly. An attorney might also be able to point you toward solutions you were unaware of. For example, you might need an irrevocable trust if you have assets you want to protect from creditors.