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Oklahoma residents should start early with estate planning

Experts advise that individuals in Oklahoma and throughout the country should start estate planning as early as the age of 30. Though end-of-life decisions aren't high on most young people's priorities, one woman who counsels families through nursing home admissions processes says she's seen too many people put off important decisions until a crisis unfolded. At that point, it's often too late to consider issues, from paying for end-of-life care to how your assets will be treated after your death.

An attorney in anther state said that the average cost of nursing home care is $100,000 each year. Without planning, end-of-life care can eat up assets even when individuals have health insurance plans. Planning ahead with revocable or irrevocable trusts is one way individuals can ensure expenses are covered. A trust also lets individuals lay out wishes for end-of-life care, ensuring preferences are maintained even if someone is incapacitated.

The enrollment coordinator at a nursing home in another state says individuals should begin asking themselves estate planning questions early in life. Questions should cover topics such as protecting assets from the expenses of long-term care and who will be appointed to make decisions should an individual be incapacitated.

Other questions to consider include how wishes and preferences will be communicated to loved ones and how assets will be divided after an individual is gone. Experts say the time to consider all these issues is when someone is in one's prime, before events make immediate answers necessary.

Planning early gives you time to consider all your options and lets you make changes as you go through life. With solid estate planning, you're never locked into decisions. You can always change preferences as your life situations evolve.

Source: WNEP, "Estate Planning: Start Early" Julie Sidoni, Jun. 11, 2014

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