Estate planning might sound like something your parents or even grandparents need to worry about. However, contrary to popular belief, the earlier you begin outlining your future finances, the better off you’ll be — especially if you have a spouse or children. Whether you’re in your 20s or 30s, here are the top estate planning steps you should take.

Think About Your Final Days

It may not be optimistic to consider your future demise, but it is logical. Though you might be young and healthy now, unexpected events could wreak havoc on your future. At a minimum, you should consider purchasing burial insurance to provide financial assistance for funeral arrangements if something happens to you. This type of insurance may also cover medical bills and any outstanding personal loans. Determine how much coverage you need by factoring in the kind of service or funeral you would like and what amount of debt you may leave behind.

Choose Options That Will Grow with You

While burial insurance helps cover the basics, you may also consider other types of insurance. For example, whole life insurance lasts your entire life and passes funds to your family upon your death. Obtaining whole life insurance is often easier and cheaper when you’re young and relatively healthy, notes Good Financial Cents. Term life insurance operates similarly, except that it lasts for a specific term. Often, parents with young children select term life insurance that covers the parent until their kids reach adulthood. Term policies are also cheaper than whole life insurance. But in many cases, if you secure life insurance while you’re young, you can also convert the policy to retain coverage longer than the original term.

Outline Your Will (and Last Wishes)

Creating a will ensures that your loved ones will adhere to your wishes when it comes to sharing your wealth and paying their final respects. If you have children or a spouse, you can designate them as beneficiaries. However, couples should also establish guardianship for their children in case both parents pass away unexpectedly. As FindLaw explains, the designated guardian should be someone you trust who is a legal adult and has the physical and financial capability to care for your children. Designating an alternate is also smart planning should the appointed guardian is unable to handle the responsibility. Of course, if the custodial parent dies, the non-custodial parent would be the next in line to care for the child. For blended families or those with otherwise unconventional family structures, this is an important distinction.

Consult an Expert

While setting aside savings or buying burial insurance is smart, there are some estate planning steps that require expert advice. For example, in many states, a lawyer must prepare your will to ensure that it’s legally binding. In other states, you may be able to hire a notary to sign off on your documents. Regardless, following your state’s legal process for establishing your will (and other estate planning documents) lowers the chances that those you leave behind will contest the will. Of course, consulting a wealth advisor is another smart step if you want to leave a financial legacy for your family. Such an expert can advise you on the best way to ensure your children or loved ones receive the most benefits upon the transfer of your estate. They can also shed light on issues like inheritance tax and other aspects of estate planning.

Thinking about your potential demise isn’t the most enjoyable part of becoming a mature adult. But when you’re in your 20s and 30s, it’s time to begin planning for your financial future — and that of your family, if applicable. Consider taking steps to preserve your wealth and protect your loved ones well into the future — whether you’re around to see it or not.

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Christopher Haymon from