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Estate planning is not just for older people

Young people have a reputation for being carefree and feeling invincible. They may see their lives as a great adventure with no end in sight. The idea of estate planning may be the last thing they want to spend time and energy considering. In fact, 78 percent of those under the age of 36 in Oklahoma and across the country do not have even a simple will.

While a will may seem absurd to someone who is unmarried, owns no property and is overwhelmed with student loan debt, other aspects of estate planning are especially urgent. Once people reach the age of 18, their parents can no longer make certain decisions for them in the event of an emergency. For example, if a 21-year-old unmarried man or woman was seriously injured and unable to speak, parents would need a court order to authorize or prohibit medical treatment on the adult child's behalf.

Since many are waiting longer to marry, having an estate plan for any assets will be important. An unmarried person may still have special people to whom he or she would prefer to leave any assets. Without a legal document designating those assets, the state will make those determinations through probate court. Many young people may not realize how many assets they have until they consider things like insurance policies, vehicles, family heirlooms, digital assets or pets.

Estate planning for those under the age of 40 is delicate, and discussing the options with an attorney will provide the information needed to make an informed decision. Additionally, once the plan is in place, a person will certainly wish to revisit it as life events occur and his or her situation changes. An Oklahoma attorney can guide one through those adjustments whenever necessary.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Engage Millennials in Estate Planning", Jamil G. Daoud, June 19, 2017

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