Estate Planning – It’s Never Too Early or Too Late

Estate planning is an essential part of preparing for the future, but it may not be at the top of a priority list, especially for younger people. If your life is focused on growing a family or building a business, the needs of today often outweigh the seemingly faraway future. Or perhaps you don’t think you’ve got much of an estate to need a plan on paper. If you don’t have one in place, there could be negative impacts. But it’s never too early—or too late—to start.

Julie Heggeness, JD, CSPG, TEP Vice President of Legal &
Executive Director of Gift Planning, Hoag Hospital Foundation
To learn more about how gift planning can help you, please call 949-764-7206 or email

Did You Know?

If you are over 70 ½, you may transfer up to $100,000 annually from your IRA to charity, satisfying your required minimum distribution but not counting it as income to you. 

The Secure 2.0 Act now allows you to make a one-time distribution (up to $50,000) to fund a charitable gift annuity. You will receive income for your lifetime.   


I’m in my 30s—why is an estate plan important for me?

Estate planning is not only for older people or those with large estates. It provides security for people of all ages and their loved ones, ensuring your assets go to the people you want them to. This may be in the way of safeguarding your financial decisions, allocating your property, and making sure your health care wishes are followed if necessary. Anyone with any assets whatsoever, even a bank account, should have a plan.

Do I need a will or a trust?

A will is a simpler legal document that states your intentions for how to distribute your assets or wealth after death, while a trust is more complex but allows you to transfer your property to an account to be managed by another person. A living trust is a good option for those with complex estates that include investment accounts, sizable assets, or multiple properties. In a trust, information about your estate stays private. Wills go to probate, where information about your estate is public.

In what ways will having an estate plan protect my children?

When you’re the parent of young children, appointing a guardian is typically the most important role of an estate plan. It provides them with security for the future if something happens to the parents and ensures you the opportunity to name the guardian. You may also need to choose a financial guardian. This may be the same person as the physical guardian, but it may not. Children under 18 can’t legally inherit money or property, so a financial guardian controls the children’s assets until they become adults. When you have adult children, your plan can focus on enabling them to inherit assets in a way that best fits their specific circumstances.

How can estate planning help me plan for supporting my preferred charities in the future?

Including charitable gifts in your estate plan can maximize your impact while preserving your financial legacy. Charitable giving can also result in potential tax savings, allowing you to benefit financially while supporting causes that align with your values and beliefs. This can also encourage strategies for fostering a family’s financial values and philanthropic giving traditions.

Learn more about Gift Planning

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