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Aren’t I too young to start estate planning?

Monday, October 01, 2018

The truth of the matter is that you are never too young to get your affairs in order. There is a common misconception that estate planning only needs to happen when someone is near death. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.  Estate planning should begin as soon as one becomes an adult. 

Estate planning is not just for the rich or the old. It has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with taking care of the people you love. 

Without a will, community property acquired during marriage is divided ½ to spouse and ½ to children, subject to the spouses right to use the property until remarriage. Separate property goes to the children or blood relative of the deceased. We still have forced heirship for children who are 23 or younger or are disabled. These children will have a share in the estate whether you provide for them or not unless they are disinherited. 

Powers of attorney are very important. They give a person or persons the right to make decisions for you if you are unable to, or if you just do not want to handle a matter personally. If you become sick or incapable and you have not designated someone to handle your finances or your health care, no one can legally make these decisions. Your family or friends may be required to have you declared legally incompetent and a legal guardian appointed by the court. 

A living will provide peace to your loved ones in determining how you would like to be treated in the event you do not want to be kept alive on life support.

Trusts allow for the setting aside of money for certain needs. You could set aside insurance money in the event of your early death and have it restricted for the benefit of your children.

Estate planning is crucial if you have minor children, separate property, are in your second marriage, or have a disabled child.