When you are young and unmarried with your first job, you are at the beginning stage of financial and estate planning. All persons who are over the age of 18 should have a Will, Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will.
Although you may not believe that you have sufficient assets to warrant estate and financial planning, you may be overlooking contract assets (i.e. life insurance, car insurance that has a value at sudden illness or accident) which would require planning. You may also be overlooking the possibility that a sudden illness or accident could require your parents or some other loved one to assume responsibility for your person along with your assets. If you are involved in an accident in a different state or if you have a sudden illness which renders you unconscious and you do not have the appropriate planning documents in place, your parents and/or other loved ones would have to apply to the Probate Court for the appointment of a guardian over your person and over your estate.
These guardianship proceedings are the most expensive legal work performed by an Elder Law attorney. Guardianships require that all matters be supervised by the court. In other words, if your guardian wants to move you from a hospital in the State of Illinois where the accident occurred to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, they would need to file an application in the court in Illinois and an application in the court in Ohio to be granted court permission to move you from one location to another. Since these matters are generally charged on an hourly basis, preparation of the documents, the hearing process, and the court costs generally exceed a young person’s asset base, and therefore, the parents and/or other loved ones who assume responsibility end up paying the costs of these legal proceedings.
If you have the foregoing documents in place, your parents and/or other loved ones could utilize them to perform all of the same actions but without court supervision.
The foregoing stages of planning should give you an overall idea of when it is important to see your financial and/or estate planner for purposes of creating and/or updating your estate plan to achieve the maximum amount of income tax, estate tax, and unnecessary governmental interference.
Contact Browning & Meyer Co., LPA today to schedule an appointment to discuss your initial planning needs.