When you start to get up there in years and see some of your friends and family members pass away it is not difficult to recognize the immediate relevancy of estate planning. However, many people who are younger feel as though estate planning is not something that they have to worry about until they reach an advanced age. It is true that the average lifespan of an American as of this writing is 78.4 years, so if you are in your 30s, 40s, or 50s the odds would indicate that your death is many years in the future.
However, we all read about people passing away before their time every day. There are no guarantees, and we are all “day-to-day” as they say, so when you go through life without an estate plan in place you are gambling. And the worst part about this type of gambling is the fact that you are not the person who is at risk. If you pass away unexpectedly it is your family members who will suffer if you do not have an estate plan.
Is important to note that a comprehensive estate plan includes a health-care component that has nothing to do with the passing of assets. If you think back to the case of Terri Schiavo you will see why it is important to have a living will and/or a durable medical power of attorney in place as soon as you are a self-supporting adult. Ms. Schiavo fell into a vegetative state after suffering full cardiac arrest at age 26. After about eight years her husband wanted the feeding tubes that were keeping her alive removed but her parents did not agree with this course of action. A long, drawn-out, and bitter legal battle ensued, but it could have been avoided if Terri had executed the proper legal documents in advance.
Estate planning is important for adults of all ages. If you do not have a plan in place, now is the time to arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney to make sure that your family is provided for come what may.