Estate Planning - Youre Never Too Young

By: Ronald Hudkins
Gone are the days of leaving home for the first time. For some it was spreading the wings and taking flight. While with others, it was a matter of being tossed over the edge of the nest.

Despite the circumstances, it was a mixed bag of emotions. Perhaps it was a combination of delight, a pinch of fright and a whole bunch of egotism. Words like restriction, boundary, curfew, grounded and phrases similar to watch your mouth, they are a bad influence were some things that just weren’t recognized as acceptable English language in the new world.

Independence, individuality, adulthood, my way or the highway, speaking the mind, being on time, new fashion trends and perhaps even failing to give prior notice before quitting a job were things associated with that new found budding maturity. It was somehow a winding road to the discovery that maybe; just maybe, the world wasn’t awaiting our arrival just so it could change to some individual standard.

When just starting out, perhaps there are more worries about the immediate needs. Eventually, goals blossom into actually preparing for the future and a comfortable living standard. The idea of immortality is more the thought than any possibility of death. With the longer life spans enjoyed in these modern days, there just may be some benign measure of reality there.

However, writing a will is not just a concern for seniors, the young and everyone in between; it is a legal matter, which must be an important part of financial planning.

The state probate process is one solid reason to complete a will. In rough terms as much as 6% of ones total (gross) assets (or more) go to probate fees and associated costs. The last thing someone would want to do is loose control of their assets to the court system. Unfortunately, putting off what you know needs to be done now – planning and implementing an estate plan – could result in just that.

Asset distribution laws vary from state-to-state; but generally, if you are married, your possessions go first to your spouse and children, should there be any.

If you are single, than most often your possessions would be passed to your parents, if they are still alive. Should your parents be deceased, than the order of succession is; usually to the siblings (brothers, sisters), than to other living family (relatives) and finally, to the state. The state is highly capable of absorbing and liquidating assets.

By no means is it being said that various wills are the answer to a complete estate plan. A will alone, specifically will not control who gets “joint property" (such as a home you and a spouse purchased together), or possibly, bank and brokerage accounts and 401(k)s or IRA’s (Individual Retirement Accounts) for which you have designated a beneficiary.

Simply put; a last will and testament is the main piece of a basic estate plan that does not require a substantial amount of legal fees for its creation. To put together a well thought out plan that provides for you during incapacity as well as after your death, talk to an estate planning attorney about other legal documents such as; a Medical Power of Attorney (proxy) for Health Care, a Living Will (Health Care Declaration) and a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs.

You are never too young to need a will. If you end up in a hospital in a coma, you need someone in a position to make personal, medical and financial decisions for you. Should you have an untimely death, the key to planning ahead is to have a written plan so your wishes will be carried out exactly as you so designate. Without a written plan, there is probate, family feuds, extended agonies ant all sorts of possibilities.

Estate Planning
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