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Do you need to estate plan when young?

Our answer to "do you need an estate plan" is always yes, though obviously the complexity of your plan depends a lot on your current life situation. Someone who has several minor children has very different concerns than someone with adult children and grandchildren might have. And someone who is young and single has yet another set of concerns, but that doesn't mean estate planning isn't a good idea.

If you're younger, you might not think you need a will or other estate plan documents for a number of reasons. First, you might think a lack of assets means no need to plan. While you might not need a trust, a will and some other basic documents are still important. At the very least, a health care directive and power of attorney can ensure you are cared for according to your wishes if you are injured or ill and can't make decisions yourself.

Another common reason younger people don't bother with estate plans is because they don't believe they have any heirs. Just because you don't have children doesn't mean you don't want your property to go to certain people. You might like a sibling, parent or friend to have your property if you pass away, and that isn't always what happens during probate without the proper documents.

Finally, a third reason many younger individuals don't plan for their estate is because they think they have time. While we genuinely hope that is true for you, it's not true for everyone and you can never know what will happen tomorrow. Working on your estate plan early in life, and keeping it up as you go and grow, can provide peace of mind and reduce a lot of hassles in the future.

Source: US News and World Report, "Estate Planning Tips for People Under 40," Sienna Kossman, accessed July 29, 2016

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