Young New Yorkers understand that estate planning is a necessary part of life, but they often don’t proactively take steps to create such a plan. For many, its importance is only discovered when it is too late. To avoid problems for themselves and family members in the event the unexpected happens, it is wise for people in their 20s and 30s to have a full grasp of what is involved in estate planning and how to ensure their wishes are carried out.

The fundamentals of comprehensive estate planning

It is natural to look toward the long-term future and think that an estate plan is something that can wait. Still, the protection provided by these documents is crucial regardless of a person’s age. The following documents are useful toward that end: a durable power of attorney; a living will or health care proxy; a will; and a revocable trust.

These documents tend to sound more complicated than they are. A durable power of attorney places the responsibility for finances into the hands of another individual if the person is unable to make them for him or herself. The living will and health care proxy differ. A health care proxy details whom they wish to make medical decisions for them in the event they cannot make decisions themselves and a living will dictates what the person wants to have done or not have done if they are unable to express their end of life decision making wishes, such as being placed on life support.

A will is relatively self-explanatory, but the details can be lost on many who are unfamiliar with its importance. It simply states how he or she wants assets allocated after death. This is especially crucial if there is a spouse and children, but anyone with assets about which they are concerned should have a will. A revocable trust is so the person’s assets will be handled as they want after their death. It can be changed or ended at any time.

Legal assistance can help with effective estate planning

A lack of preparation is a common mistake in all areas of life, but is especially problematic with estate planning. Those who do not take the steps to build a viable estate plan inevitably regret it as its absence leaves loved ones wondering how to address health care decisions, property and assets. Consulting with a law firm that is experienced in all areas of wills, trusts and estate planning is advisable at any age.