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An estate plan is about more than leaving a legacy

11/1/2016 | Articles & Alerts

If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you probably think estate planning is unnecessary. If you’re healthy and feel good, why worry about leaving money to beneficiaries? Besides, it’s likely you’re more concerned with paying off student loans, building up a 401(k) or IRA, and making house payments or rent, not preserving a nest egg for heirs.

But estate planning isn’t just about leaving a trust fund for grandchildren; an estate plan is about protecting yourself and your loved ones at any age. Whatever your financial outlook, at the very least you should have the following basic estate planning documents:

Every estate plan is unique, and it is possible you need more than these basic documents. But no matter your age or income bracket, these documents protect your interests should the unthinkable happen.

What an estate plan can do for younger people, newlyweds and parents

An estate plan benefits both you and your loved ones. For younger people, significant life events such as marriage, having children, or inheriting wealth mean it is time to create or revise an estate plan. A will or trust dictates how the assets you own should be distributed, and can help loved ones avoid or minimize probate during a difficult time. If married, a will or trust can ensure your spouse understands and receives the assets he or she needs. Similarly, after having a child, ensuring that that child is cared for in the event something happens to you should take high priority. Naming a guardian and providing for that child through a trust is a necessary step.

It isn’t just caring for loved ones that’s important, however; an estate plan is also about how loved ones should care for you. Setting out who will make financial and medical decisions should you be incapable of communicating those wishes is important. A durable power of attorney and health care directive allows loved ones and medical providers to understand your medical care wishes if you are unable to communicate them. A durable financial power of attorney allows a trusted person to pay all bills, including medical, on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

Contact an experienced estate planning attorney

Other estate planning documents may be needed. For example, if you have a loved one with a disability, a special needs trust may be appropriate. If you are expecting an inheritance, are divorced, or have children from a previous relationship, these considerations should be taken into account when creating an estate plan.

Whatever your needs, the experienced estate planning attorneys at Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C., can help you protect your loved ones. Contact our team to discuss your needs and tailor an estate plan that is right for you.