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Even young, single people should do some estate planning

Too many people don't consider getting a will or any sort of estate plan until they have children or, if they remain child-free, when they get into their senior years. Even then, too many do not. More than three-quarters of millennials have no will. Fewer than two-thirds of Generation X (people in their late 30s through early 50s) have one. Only half of people between 53 and 71 do. Only 36 percent of people with minor children have a will.

However, even young, single people should have a will so that they can designate who gets their assets if they die. This can save their loved one the stress and money of going through probate. Further, they should designate who will handle their finances and make health care decisions for them if they're unable to speak for themselves.

Many young people are carrying significant debt, including student loan debt. A will can designate who will be responsible for paying these debts off and where the money will come from.

If you're young, single and have no children, developing an estate plan doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. You should have the following documents in place:

  1. A will that designates how your assets will be distributed if you die and who will be in charge of managing your estate.
  2. A durable power of attorney, which is the person who will manage your finances if you become incapacitated and unable to do so.
  3. A health care directive and medical power of attorney. The directive stipulates your wishes for things like what life-prolonging efforts you wish to have should you become unable to speak for yourself. Your medical power of attorney is tasked with seeing that those wishes are carried out by medical professionals.

Once you've got a basic estate plan in place, you can update it as needed based on life events like getting married and having children. An experienced Arizona estate planning attorney can provide guidance and advice based on your individual situation.

Source: MarketWatch, "Young and single? You still need a will," Alessandra Malito, Aug. 04, 2017

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