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Why writing a will and estate planning is important

Some Florida individuals may not realize the importance of estate planning. This may be especially true for younger individuals. While more than 40 percent of the so-called "baby boomer" generation do not have a will, over 70 percent of people under the age of 35 lack one. The danger of not having a will is that the a person's property will be determined in accordance with state laws of intestacy, which may not be in accord with what the decedent's wishes would have been.

Creating an estate plan may mean appointing several people to take care of different aspects of a person's affairs after their death or if they become incapacitated. A will needs an executor, but if there are minor children, a guardian should be appointed for those children as well. Individuals who wish to create a trust will need to appoint a trustee to manage it.

It may also be necessary to create a durable powers of attorney for health care and financial matters. These are individuals who can make financial and medical decisions if the grantor is unable to do so. There are other estate planning documents that may be necessary as well. A living will indicates an individual's desires for end-of-life medical care. Life insurance and retirement accounts need beneficiaries designated. Individuals should also draw up lists of assets, liabilities and digital accounts including passwords.

Estate planning may be particularly important for individuals who have remarried or who have dependents from more than one relationship. For example, if there is no estate plan, assets may pass to an individual's new spouse rather than to children from the first marriage. Careful planning ensures assets go to the intended heirs.

Source: Time, "How Writing a Will Is Like Backing Up Your Hard Drive", Lazetta Rainey Braxton , August 18, 2014

Source: Time, "How Writing a Will Is Like Backing Up Your Hard Drive", Lazetta Rainey Braxton , August 18, 2014

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