We do not usually have the opportunity to hear about people passing away when they are relatively young adults or minors, but it happens all too frequently. The only time that we really hear this news is when someone famous passes away.
One of these incidents rattled the collective consciousness recently when basketball great Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.
In addition to his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, a total of seven other people passed away in the devastating accident. These included a married couple and their daughter, and a mother who passed away with her daughter.
The Importance of Proactive Planning
After the shock has subsided and the mourning has reached its peak, we can start to step back and consider the destructive nature of this horrific event.
Caring.com conducted a survey last year that was intended to measure the estate planning preparedness of American adults. It found that the vast majority of people that are under the age of 60 did not have any estate planning documents in place.
This is understandable on the one hand because people think that they will have time to take care of the matter later on. However, even though you can see why people adopt this perspective, it is unnecessarily risky. Anything could happen to anyone at any time, and the helicopter crash serves as a stark reminder.
Cover Your Bases
Some people who procrastinate aren’t delaying because they are uncomfortable dealing with the subject. They simply feel as though they do not have enough information because the future is uncertain.
This should not be a source of concern because estate planning is an ongoing process. Your initial estate plan will be based on your life situation at the time that it is created, but circumstances will inevitably change.
A major part of the plan will be income replacement, and this can be accomplished through the purchase of life insurance. Term life is often used by young families to provide peace of mind, and you can get a robust amount of coverage for a relatively small sum of money.
If you are a parent of dependent children, you should select a guardian who would care for the youngsters if it ever became necessary. An asset transfer vehicle like a last will or a living trust will be another piece to the puzzle.
When you understand the facts, many people conclude that a living trust is actually a better choice.
In addition to the monetary part of the equation, you should prepare for possible incapacity when you are devising your estate plan. When you have a living trust, you can empower a disability trustee to manage the assets in the trust if you ever become unable to handle your own affairs.
A durable power of attorney for property can be included to name someone to make other types of monetary decisions on your behalf. With a living will, you can state your life-support preferences, and you can add a durable power of attorney for health care to appoint a medical decision maker.
It should be noted that health care professionals are not allowed to release any type of medical information to anyone other than the patient. This is because of regulations contained within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
To make the records available to your health care agent and anyone else that you would like to include, you can add a HIPAA release form.
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We are here to help if you decide that action is required. To schedule a consultation in North Carolina, give us a call at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC). The number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and we have a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.