J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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20-somethings should consider drafting estate planning documents

When it comes to estate planning, there are many excuses people employ in order to convince themselves that an estate plan is not quite necessary at whatever point in their lives. These excuses usually amount to avoidance tactics -- avoidance tactics that are used because people do not have a clear understanding of what an estate plan is and why it is important. Estate planning is important for a variety of reasons and it is a vital way to achieve a financial peace of mind.

One of the more common excuses people employ is that they are too young to worry about estate planning. The fact remains, though, that an accident or tragedy can happen at any point in a person's life and it is always prudent to be prepared. Without necessary estate planning documents, important decisions regarding where a person's money will go and what will happen should a person fall into a terminal or unconscious state will be decided by state law.

Many young people may not have large estates, but they do have children and spouses they would want to be taken care of should anything unfortunate occur. In order to ensure assets are divided amongst loved ones in a way that conforms to a person's wishes, it is necessary to draft a will in which beneficiaries are named in clear and certain terms. Without a will, asset division will be decided based on state law.

Young people also likely have certain medical directives they would like to be made known. This is possible with an estate planning document known as the living will. The living will makes known what a person desires should they be on life support or in a state of unconsciousness. The will and the living will are both necessary documents for anyone hoping to protect their family and ensure their wishes are carried out.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Biz Brain: Estate planning for a 20-something," Karin Price Mueller, Jan. 6, 2014

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