By Darlynn Morgan, Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney

As a Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney, I realize there are several misconceptions about estate planning floating around but there’s one that is particularly troublesome that I’d like to address.  It’s something that I hear often.  That is…

I’m a young professional planning for my future.  Do I really need an estate plan?

Youth is not an excuse to put off doing an estate plan.  This is because an estate plan is not just about planning for your death.  It also prepares you in the event you experience an incapacitating injury and are unable to make your own financial or medical decisions.  While the odds are certainly in your favor that you will not need to invoke your plan, you should still consider the four reasons below and make your own decision.

  1. You need a plan in the event that you become disabled or incapacitated.
    Just because you are young it doesn’t mean that something bad can’t happen to you.  Unfortunately, tragedies happen every day.  If something happens to you and you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your own financial, legal, and medical affairs, you’ll need basic documents in place such as a medical directive, power of attorney and HIPAA authorization to ensure someone has the ability to speak for you when you can’t.
  2. You need to pass your assets.
    I know what you are thinking.  “What assets?” (Was I right?) Even if you do not yet own your own home, you need to consider IRAs, retirement accounts and life insurance accounts offered through your employer. You need to make sure that beneficiaries are named in the right way to make sure that the people you want to leave them to get maximum benefit.
  3. You need to name guardians for your kids.
    If you have children, you simply must name guardians.  You should be the one who decides who will raise them if you are no longer around.  You do not want this decision left to squabbling relatives or to a court system who doesn’t know you or your child.
  4. You need to plan for your pets.
    If you have a pet, chances are they are a big part of your life.  They are totally devoted to you and also totally dependent on you.  Have you stopped to think what might happen to them if something were to happen to you?  If you want to make sure your companion is cared for if the unexpected happens, you could choose to put together a plan for their continued care.  The plan may include directions about feeding, medical care and other needs along with funds necessary to provide for your pet’s support and to compensate the caretaker.

These are a just a few things to consider when deciding if you are ready to create your own estate plan. If you would like to talk to an experienced Newport Beach estate planning attorney who will give you the straight scoop on whether you should create a plan, contact our office at (949) 260-1400 to schedule your own Family Wealth Planning Session (normally $750). However, these appointments are limited to 10 per month so call today!