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Estate planning: it's never too soon to start

If you're under 40 years old, chances are that you haven't thought much about creating an estate plan. You may not even think you need one. But because none of us can know what the future will bring, it's important to have a plan in place sooner rather than later.

You may not have significant assets at the moment because you're trying to support a family; but it would still be wise to start making an estate plan. You can draft a basic will, and then turn your focus to other important estate planning matters; including a living will and life insurance.

When you draft your will, it may be a good idea to involve your family and other loved ones in the process. If you discuss with them which property you are leaving to whom and why, there is less chance for misunderstandings and arguments down the road.

A living will is an important way to make sure your end-of-life medical decisions are understood and respected. Along with a living will, you may designate health-care power of attorney to a trusted family member or friend. This power allows them to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions or cannot communicate them.

Finally, consider investing in life insurance, even at a young age. If you have a family to support, you'll rest easier knowing that life insurance will be able to replace lost earnings in the event of untimely death. Plus, you may be able to secure lower rates if you take out a policy when you're young rather than waiting until you're older.

These are just a few aspects of a good estate plan that you can get started on before age 40. If you want to learn more about estate planning or think you're ready to get started, please contact an experienced estate planning attorney in your area.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Estate Planning Tips for People Under 40," Sienna Kossman, Sept. 19, 2013

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