The New Jersey Star Ledger, my home town paper (fond memories of picking up the paper to see if my picture was taken from a soccer game or wrestling match), ran an article that really hit home for what I am doing now – is being young a reason to not put an estate plan in place. The conclusion the article reached, and I concur, is a resounding “No.”
I have always said, “If you are 18 or 118, you need an estate plan!” The plan that the 20-something needs may be vastly different than what the person in their 50’s need, but a plan is needed, non-the-less.
Without a plan, you are leaving it up to the State to make decisions for you. Who decides your finances, who makes your health decisions and, if you pass away, who gets your stuff.
As a person who would rather keep the government out of my affairs, I would always opt to put my thoughts down in writing – and make sure they are legally valid!
At the very minimum, everyone needs their Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and HIPPA authorizations, along with a Durable Power of Attorney. These documents are vital to ensure that if you need someone to make decisions for you, that person is the one YOU chose.
Then other factors, such as marital status, children and finances will drive the need for other planning techniques including the Last Will and Revocable Trust.
No matter how old you are, you should have your plan in place. Bad things can happen at any time, to any one of us (e.g. Terry Shivo was 27 years old when she went into a coma; Marlise Munoz is 33 year old, and on life support) . Don’t make a bad situation worse by not having some simple documents in place.
Don’t rely on the State to do it for you. Be proactive and get your plan in place (or tell your loved ones to do so to). We would be happy to sit down with you or your loved ones and figure out the plan that works best for them.
Call us today and arrange your free consultation.
Contributed by MH Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney James P. Plitz.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.