Most people know that they need to do estate planning at some point, but they may simply put it off because they're not exactly sure when to begin. How soon will they need that plan? When do they want to get everything in order?
Now, the short answer here is that you should do your estate planning as soon as possible. If you have been putting it off, you're already taking a risk. Car accidents, workplace accidents and medical malpractice take lives unexpectedly every single day -- and those are just three examples of possible mortality. Life is impossible to predict. So is death. It's far better to be ready in advance. If you live a long, healthy life and don't use your estate plan for decades, that's fine. Having it protects your heirs just in case.
That said, it is also worth noting that life expectancy in the United States has been dropping in recent years. That's a concerning trend because life expectancy has historically risen with the rise of medical technology, especially in the last couple hundred years. To see it dropping again raises a lot of questions, even when the drop is not that big. For instance, it fell from 78.7 in 2016 to 78.6 in 2017.
Still, even minor decreases in life expectancy do underscore the fragility of life. They show why it's important to plan in advance and consider what your family needs after you pass away. No matter how old you are, make sure you know all of the legal options that you have and what steps to take.