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Four reasons why young people should have an estate plan

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Who – what age group – needs to be most concerned with estate planning? Ask folks this question, and I’ll bet most would conjure up the image of a retiree, who just spent 50+ years working hard to acquire significant assets.

But imagine, say, a young, married couple. They both have good jobs, live in a nice starter home, and have one or two small toddlers at home.

This young couple tries to put away a little bit of money for savings, and in a college fund, and for retirement. Why should they worry about estate planning?

The truth is, this young couple should be just as concerned – arguably, even more concerned! – with estate planning as the retiree. Here are four reasons why:

  1. Choosing guardians for minor children. In an estate plan, you can choose the guardians of young children. If you should become incapacitated, or even die, without any estate plan, an Iowa court would have no choice but to appoint a guardian for your children – but it may not be who you wanted or who you would have chosen. Better to make this choice with plenty of time to consider and make a careful, well-reasoned choice.
  1. Save on fees, court costs, and taxes. A good estate plan can save you and your estate money on fees, court costs, and taxes – perhaps even achieve substantial savings. These savings can be even more critically important for a smaller estate – more likely when you’re younger – than for larger estate, more likely as you grow older. Often, young folks actually have the greatest need to save money to pass along the most they possibly can to family and loved ones.
  1. Help favorite charities. Young people often are passionate about one or more causes. Having an estate plan means that you can put into place much needed help for your favorite charities.
  1. Life is uncertain. It may be awkward to talk about, but life isn’t guaranteed for any of us, young or old. There’s an old saying in estate planning circles that goes, “people don’t always die when they are supposed to.” Wives usually outlive their husbands, parents usually outlive their children, and so on, but not always. It is best to be prepared for anything/everything.

Who should be most concerned with estate planning? I actually think young people should be!

Do you agree? Why or why not? I’d be very interested in your thoughts.

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