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Estate planning isn't just for the aging

It's great being young, although it is perhaps older people who appreciate youth the most. Young people often put off thoughts of retirement planning or estate planning because they're busy enjoying life or building a career and a family. But exuberance and crowded schedules are no reason to avoid something that matters.

One issue that affects all people is who may have power of attorney over them. Anything can happen in life, and parents cannot make medical decisions on behalf of their child once he or she is 18 years old. If a person is not married, there may be no clear holder of the power of attorney without the proper legal documents.

Estate planning is also a good exercise for people with assets worth sharing and with a family to protect. Last wills and testaments, as well as living wills, can help clarify a person's intent in the case of a catastrophe. Parents should always want their spouses, children and other relatives to have as much peace of mind as possible.

This is also important if a young person has any philanthropic goals. Estates without estate plans are often carved up by the government, and any inheritances or bequests that are not formally recognized will probably be ignored.

An estate plan is often more than a will, and it may be revised several times during a person's lifetime. An attorney can help create and continue an estate plan for a person of any age. Legal representation is also helpful when considering the tax implications of estate decisions and bequests.

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