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Estate planning is important in financial planning

Some people think that only "old" people die, or that estate planning is unnecessary for the young. On the contrary, estate planning is essential for people of all ages. An estate plan will help ensure that a person's wishes are respected should the person pass away unexpectedly.

Where there is no will or estate plan in effect, the state decides on its own what should happen to the money. If a couple with young children should pass on without leaving a plan, the state will decide who should care for the children, and they may not wind up with the person the parents would have chosen. Parents may benefit from choosing a guardian in advance, to find someone who has similar values.

Estate planning does not need to be complicated. It can be accomplished with a few documents. A will determines who will get assets, names the person who will administer the estate, and can choose a guardian for minor children. A durable power of attorney allows a person to legally appoint another person to act if he or she becomes incapacitated and incapable of making decisions. In addition, a health care proxy gives a third party the power to make decision related to health care. This may or may not be the same person who acts as power of attorney.

Some people feel that the process of estate planning is a little daunting. However, with the help of a local attorney who can draft and store documents, the process can be significantly easier. If there is a question later, an attorney can fight to uphold a person's wishes, even after death.

Source: CBS Boston, "Estate Planning Is Key To Financial Planning", May 03, 2013