Estate planning is often thought of as "a rich man's plan for his things in the future." However, estate planning should be thought of as something everyone does, everyone should do, and everyone with or without heirs needs to think about. Even if you are in your late twenties, you do not have a spouse or children, and you do not have anything that normally constitutes an "estate," you should still be thinking about these things and planning for them. Here is why.
Situations Definitely Change
You could inherit a house or win a mansion in a contest. You could get married and have a handful of kids. You could work hard and pinch pennies to make a million by the time you are 50, or you could invest your saved money in financial assets that make you very wealthy. Dozens of choices you make can turn the tables on your life, and then you are left with an "estate," which will require some thought as to how to leave it when you pass away. Planning ahead is important to understanding what you will do with whatever lot in life you get.
Heirs Can Be Surprises
Well, at least for men, heirs can be surprises. If you are male who has had a few intimate partners, then there may be a chance that you have a child or two out there that you do not know anything about. Making plans for your estate is not just about the heirs you know you have or will have halfway through life, but for the heirs you did not know you have that have come out of the woodwork to contest your will and rival the heirs you do know about and have mentioned in that will. Plan to include some clause for those that show up after you have left this world, and it will work out better for all of your heirs.
Death Can Come at Any Time
Most people assume that they will live very long lives. That is not always the case. A comedian once quipped, "Eat right, exercise, die anyway," and that is quite true. You could do everything right for your health and your life, and get hit by a bus commuting to work tomorrow. It happens more often than people realize, and it is important to have something in legal writing that tells your surviving family members what to do with all of your stuff. Do not leave a will and estate plans until you have amassed a lot of stuff because then there is no legal boundary that protects what you have from government seizure and no boundary that gives what you do have to those you want to inherit it.
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