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Is estate planning only for the old and wealthy?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2018 | Estate Planning |

When people in Parsippany think of estate planning, they may conjure up the image of a rich old relative dictating his last will and testament on his deathbed. However, even the young or those of modest means can benefit from having an estate plan. There are a number of good reasons why estate planning is valuable to just about anyone.

First, incapacity doesn’t just happen in old age. While some people might develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease late in life, a person could suddenly find themselves in a coma after being injured in a car wreck or could find that a grave illness has made it impossible to make decisions on their own behalf. An estate plan can address such situations by including a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney. The individuals a person selects to fulfill these roles will make medical and financial decisions, respectively, if a person is incapacitated.

Second, even those who are not wealthy may still have assets that they want to see handed down to specific individuals. To do so, they will need to execute a will or trust. If a person dies without a will or trust, their estate is handed down to the heirs through the laws of “intestate succession.” Depending on the situation, this means the heirs the state chooses may not be who a person would prefer to inherit their estate. Drafting a will or trust can prevent such situations from happening.

Finally, even once a person executes a comprehensive estate plan, they should review it periodically. For example, the person selected as power of attorney may pass away and be unable to fulfill that role should the time come. Or, new children or grandchildren may be born that a person wishes to include in their will or trust. Divorce and remarriage are also two life events that warrant a review of one’s estate plan.

As this shows, an estate plan can be very beneficial for most adults, young and old. Death and incapacity are no respecter of age, so it is best to be prepared. With the execution of a comprehensive estate plan, a person can rest easily with the assurance that their wishes will be followed should catastrophe fall upon them.