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Why young people need to consider estate planning

Many In New Jersey are aware of the tragic death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston and her former husband, Bobby Brown. Bobbi Kristina was in a comatose state for six months after being found face-down within a bathtub in her home. Her family has gone through a very bitter and public fight concerning her care, as she did not have the proper estate planning documents in place that would clarify those matters.

No one wants to consider the loss of a loved one, especially in regard to young people who are just getting started in their lives. However, it is important to acknowledge that accidents can happen and that the incapacitation of a young person is always a possibility. The best way to ensure that the proper level of care is achieved in such a case is to draft comprehensive health care directives and make those documents available to the proper parties.

This begins with an advance care directive, which is a document that allows an individual to name the person or persons who are entrusted with directing the course of one's medical care if that need should arise. By having this tool in place, the chosen agents can begin making important medical choices quickly, which can be key to an individual's chances of recovery. In addition to naming one's health care agents, this paperwork can also specify one's wishes in regard to what type of treatment should be sought, as well as which interventions should be avoided.

It is a reality of life that none of us knows what lies ahead, and if or when we may experience an illness or injury that leads to incapacitation. As in the case of Bobbi Kristina Brown, failure to have the proper estate planning tools in place can lead to a great deal of family contention if a young person is injured. The best course of action is for New Jersey families to address this need as soon as a child reaches the age of maturity, and to approach the matter as just another step into the world of adulthood.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "What Estate Planning Lessons can I Learn from Whitney Houston's Daughter?", Aug. 12, 2015

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