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Early planning can do wonders for your estate

There are a couple of myths about estate plans that we want to address. The first is that the term "estate plan" can be a slight misnomer. Your estate is not contained to just one document that has "ESTATE PLAN" labeled on it. To the contrary, your estate is made up of numerous documents and entities, such as a will, some trusts, power of attorney designation and any guardianship or long term health care planning stipulations.

The other myth about estate plans is that only people who are middle-aged or older should even consider one. That simply isn't true. Basically anyone older than the age of 18 should consider an estate plan. Even at an early age (and even though you may have a limited budget or seemingly few assets), you still have things you want to legally protect, such as your wellbeing in case of a serious accident.

So what's the best way to assemble all of these documents? And how does a young person take the first step towards building their estate plan?

As a young professional, you may not think you have much to offer in terms of an estate. But remember: your full-time job likely offers life insurance benefits and other retirement accounts that are under your name. If you were to die or become incapacitated, wouldn't you want to have your thoughts on paper to indicate who gets those assets? Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney can be a great first step for anyone who wants to tackle the difficult issue of planning their estate.

Source: Denver Post, "Don't wait till you are old to plan your estate," Laura Daily, Oct. 14, 2013

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