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The benefits of being proactive with estate planning

It's not unusual for individuals in New Jersey who are single, childless or within the 18- to 34-year-old range to fail to realize the importance of estate planning. In fact, nearly 80 percent of millennials admit to not having a will. Younger people may not want to think about unpleasant matters relating to mortality. However, not making an effort to plan in advance can have some unexpected consequences. For instance, passing away without a will means the state will make decisions about asset and property distribution.

The most common estate planning document is a will, which clearly spells out who gets what assets. An executor is named to handle the distribution of the assets referenced in a will. With a durable power of attorney, a trusted individual can be named to make financial decisions should the estate owner become incapacitated or not immediately available. An advance medical directive allows the estate owner to make end-of-life decisions ahead of time. If a health care agent isn't named and someone is in a persistent vegetative state, the default action is typically to sustain life artificially.

Another estate planning consideration that often applies to younger individuals involves digital assets that may include social media content and personal photos. Some social media platforms handle such matters by allowing account holders to name trusted contacts who would be authorized to access or remove content. Others memorialize accounts or allow them to be deleted altogether.

An attorney can help individuals of all income levels and age ranges with the process of estate planning documents. Depending on the specific assets involved, an estate planning lawyer may be able to help a client name one person to manage digital assets and other individuals to handle financial assets, personal property and health-related decisions. If significant assets are involved, an attorney may suggest setting up a trust to reduce tax responsibilities.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP
5 Main Street
Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: 908-905-0183
Fax: 908-782-4012
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