The calendar has turned, and the new year can trigger an end to procrastination when it comes to estate planning.
Passing away is something that is spoken of as one of the two certainties of life. However, a significant percentage of adults are going through life without making any plans for this certainty. In fact, most Americans have not executed all of the appropriate estate planning documents according to various different recent surveys.
When you make plans you are usually going to be the beneficiary when these plans come to fruition. Estate planning is entirely different. This type of planning is done for the benefit of those that you love. This should be motivation enough to take action.
Young Adults Are Especially Remiss
Statistics tell us that young adults are especially remiss when it comes to estate planning. While we are all aware of the fact that people don’t usually pass away when they are in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, it does happen. You should certainly take precautionary steps to prepare for this possibility, as unlikely as it may be.
If you are a young adult and you don’t have anyone depending on you, estate planning can seem less important. In fairness, there is some truth to this. However, many young adults who are married with children have made no preparations.
Younger parents with dependents still in the home should take estate planning very seriously. If you are in this position, your children are relying on you for everything. Someone who is a senior citizen would probably have adult children who are self-sufficient. In a real sense, estate planning is more important for younger parents than it is for older parents.
If you do not plan your estate you will die intestate. Under these circumstances the state will distribute your assets using intestate succession laws.
This can be a time-consuming process, and the way that your assets are distributed may not be consistent with what you would have wanted. Intestacy is something to be avoided.
You should certainly take action to express your wishes with regard to the distribution of your financial assets after you die. As a responsible person you should also address the possibility of incapacity late in your life.
Incapacity is common among elders, with upward of 45 percent of the oldest old (people 85 and older) suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. You can name decision-makers who are empowered to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation by executing legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
We would like to suggest that you use the new year as motivation if you have been procrastinating. Estate planning is one of the core responsibilities of adulthood, and it should not be ignored.
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Ryan M. DenmanandDennis D. Duffy
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