When do I Need Estate Planning?
July 14, 2022
I find that often, younger people believe that they don't need estate planning but, as with anything, the answer really depends. If one is using the definition of an estate plan to mean a will and there are no assets, then a will might not be necessary. Statistically the odds of dying in any one year at age 18 is approximately one in 2,000. By age 40 the odds fall to one in 500, age 70 the odds are one in 54 and by age 90 the odds of dying in any one year are one and seven. So, statistically, a will or a trust makes more sense as one gets older because the odds of dying increases.
The decision to start the estate planning process definitely changes when children enter the picture. Although unlikely, if both parents pass away and there are no children, in general the children will receive all the assets at age 18. I don't know about you, but I was not the most financially responsible 18 year old and it's likely that other children are the same. In addition, if both parents don't show up one evening if there aren't plans in place to have temporary guardianship or statements about long term guardianship, this again can lead to a situation where a child is raised by people counter to the belief systems of the parents. Proper planning beforehand can eliminate most of these issues.
Turning to powers of attorney, irrespective of age or the amount of assets a person possesses, everyone at any age should have a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney in place. A financial power of attorney gives someone, selected before the need for a financial power of attorney, that is trustworthy and has your best interest at heart. A health care power attorney provides for a similar situation in that someone you trust will make medical decisions for you. Some other key documents that one should have or a living will, or advanced health care directive, and a HIPAA authorization. A tragic case will illustrate what can occur if one doesn't have proper documentation. About 20 years ago, Terri Schiavo add a cardiac arrest that caused her to be in a vegetative state without any hope for returning to a normal life. For four years her family and husband fought each other in court and in the media to either keep her alive or remove her feeding tube. Ultimately, her feeding tube was removed and she passed away. This example, although extreme, is an example of what most people would not want to happen to them. Therefore, having these documents in place is critical because you never know what may happen in the future.
Call my office today - I would love to discuss powers of attorney and estate planning and learn more about your situation. Thanks!
The information on this blog is for general informational purposes only. Nothing in this or any other communication should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. All information on this site is not intended to create and does not constitute an attorney-client relations