The basketball community and others around the world were thrown into a state of shock when Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others died in a helicopter crash. Death is inevitable for all of us, but when people pass away before their time, the sense of loss is quite profound.
From an estate planning perspective, we are not going to get into the specific preparations that any of the victims may or may not have made. The point of this post is to underscore the importance of planning for people of all ages.
Cover Your Bases
Studies that are conducted consistently show that the majority of people do not have any estate planning documents in place. This is especially true when it comes to younger adults.
If you have no partner or dependents, and you have limited resources, a lack of planning is understandable. However, if you are married, you have to be concerned about the well-being of your spouse if the unthinkable was to take place. This dynamic is magnified if you have children.
An estate plan for a young adult with a partner and a child should include the selection of a guardian that would care for the youngster if it ever becomes necessary. You should also carry enough life insurance to serve as a substitute for your income.
Term life insurance is ideal for this purpose, and it is inexpensive for people that are relatively young. As time goes on, you should consider adjusting your level of coverage to suit the evolving needs of your family.
An asset transfer vehicle of some type will be at the core of the plan. You could use a simple last will, but there are limitations and drawbacks that can enter the picture. This is especially true if you want to make provisions for a minor child. For many people, a living trust will be a better choice.
A basic estate plan should also address the possibility of incapacitation. If you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacity. You could create a durable power of attorney for property to name someone to handle assets that have not been conveyed into a trust.
Health care decision-making is another piece to the incapacity planning puzzle. You can add a durable power of attorney for health care to name an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if it ever becomes necessary.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996, and this prevents medical professionals from releasing health care records to anyone other than the patient. That is, unless a release form has been signed, so you should include one of these to give your agent the ability to obtain the records when you are establishing your incapacity plan.
One last piece to the puzzle is a living will. This type of will has nothing to do with monetary matters. With a living will, you express your preferences regarding the use of resuscitation, artificial hydration, artificial nutrition, and other life-support measures.
Take Action Today!
As you sit back and absorb the ramifications of the Kobe Bryant tragedy, you can see why estate planning is a must for everyone, even younger adults. When you put a plan in place that provides appropriately for your loved ones come what may, you can go forward with peace of mind.
Personalized attention is key, because there is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all estate plan. When you work with our firm, we will get to know you, gain an understanding of your objectives, and make the appropriate recommendations. If you decide to go forward, we will help you devise a custom crafted estate plan that is ideal for you and your family.
You can set the wheels in motion right now if you give us a call at 860-548-1000, and you can alternately send us a message through the contact form on this website.