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Estate planning: so many reasons to do it, P.1

Our Alpharetta readers may be interested to know that this week is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Yes, such a thing does exist. As is probably obvious, one of the major goals of the awareness campaign is to encourage folks to begin thinking about and taking steps toward getting their estate in order. And that applies to everybody, not just seniors.

The truth is that estate planning is a good idea for every adult, even single young adults. Adults with children most certainly should have an estate plan. There are actually unique reasons why every adult should think about estate planning. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why.

Adults of any age face the possibility of incapacity, and could benefit from appointing a power of attorney to handle their financial and health care matters. In addition, an advance health care directive allows adults to specify their wishes for health care decisions in the event they are unable to do so. Adults who have any retirement or life insurance accounts should be sure to fill out beneficiary forms to ensure the assets will pass to heirs without need for probate. And even if you’re single, it isn’t a bad idea to write a will. Doing so will allow you to determine where your possessions go in the event of death, rather than the state deciding for you.

Adults that are unmarried but have a partner need to write a will if they want any of their property to pass to the partner at their death. If such adults share any property, it isn’t a bad idea to look into owning it jointly with rights of survivorship, since doing so will allow the property to pass to the surviving partner automatically.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at basic reasons for adults to think about estate planning.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Get an Estate Plan. Now.,” Rachel Emma Silverman, October 18, 2011.