Reason 1: You have young children
Ask any parent of young children what is most important to them and you will hear the same answer — my children. Yet many parents unintentionally put their children — who depend on them for their emotional well being and financial security — at great risk because they have not made an estate plan.
Life is random and uncertain. Any parent of young children should create an estate plan as soon as possible. If the unthinkable should happen and you and your spouse are suddenly severely injured or killed, it is critical to ensure there will be someone to step in and take on parenting duties. If you haven’t created an estate plan that names the guardian, it will be up to a court to determine who takes on that role and your personal wishes will not matter. The court will have to follow state laws, and may not choose someone of whom you approve.
Good estate planning also provides for the finances to raise your children and send them to college will be handled by those you choose, without court intervention if you so desire. But this only happens if you act beforehand.
Reason 2. You have specific medical preferences
Though most young people don’t think they will face a life-threatening medical condition, the reality is that any of us could be confronted with the situation at any time. If you are incapacitated and unable to express your choices about medical care, someone else (perhaps a court) will make your choices for you. However, if you take the time to create an estate plan with the appropriate advance medical directives, you can ensure that your wishes will be followed even if you are no longer able to communicate them.
Reason 3: You want your assets to go to a specific person
If you have a home, life insurance policy, personal property, or anything else of value, you may have specific wishes as to who you want to receive that property if you should die. If you haven’t created an estate plan, state law makes those choices for you. The fact is, the only way to ensure your wishes are followed is to create estate planning documents that dictate your choices in a legally recognized manner.
Estate Planning is one of those things we all know we should do, but love to put off. There are many fine estate planning lawyers available who will help take the mystery and confusion out of the process and help overcome procrastination- the number one reason why people fail to have an estate plan. A good place to find a qualified estate planning lawyer is the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, where you will find a listing of members across the U.S.