Don’t Wait to Plan

Estate planning is for everybody. As a recent article explains, an estate plan is “a set of legal documents that allows you to leave instructions regarding your care if you can’t speak for yourself and distribution of your assets if you die.” These documents are important for everybody, no matter how rich or poor.

A person can create an estate plan as long as he or she is at least 18 years of age and is mentally competent to do so. Estate planning is particularly important for young adults, who may face a serious, unexpected accident and not be able to express their wishes regarding care. Moreover, even college students have an estate, and assets that will need to be distributed upon their deaths.

As individuals age, they often accumulate more wealth and more concerns. Those facing illness may wish to set up a trust so that their money will be spent for medical care, and they are not financially exploited. Older Americans may also wish to set up trusts to provide for the educational expenses of their grandchildren.

It is easy to get started. Sit down with an estate-planning attorney and have a frank discussion about what you would like to happen at the end of life and after your death. If you don’t know of a good attorney, ask friends and family members for recommendations. If your estate is small and lacks complexity, hiring a professional to create your plan may cost much less than you think.

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