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Estate Planning for Professionals

June 22, 2014

When an individual graduates from college or law school, there is a certain list of next steps on their mind. After years and years of hard work and studying, they are finally able to reap the benefits and get a good job.

Once they get that job, the list of next steps gets updated. Pay off student loans, buy a house, buy a car, invest in the stock market, or any other number of financial things.

One thing that many professionals do not think about, however, is the notion of estate planning. Most people think estate planning is something that middle-aged folk do, but the truth is that the earlier you can do it, the better. This is especially true for young professionals, and even more so for those who are looking to start new families.

Even if you do not go through a complete and full estate plan (which is highly recommended), there are at least 5 documents that you should be sure to have:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney – This allows loved ones to make medical decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. It will be up to the individual you name to carry out your wishes and ensure that everything is done to your specifications.

  • Financial Power of Attorney – Similar to the healthcare form, this allows loved ones to make financial decisions on your behalf. This could include paying bills, caring for or selling your home, or any number of other financial responsibilities.

  • Last will and testament – This is the standard form, and what most people think estate planning is. This document allows you to, in an extremely detailed manner, choose how you want all your possessions to be split up among your loved ones.

  • Beneficiary Designation and Deed – These are 2 separate forms, but they are similar. These both designated specific property to go to an individual. The designation is used for passing IRAs or 401ks to loved ones, and deeds are used to pass real property.

As a young professional, it is undeniable that you have a great many things weighing on your mind. If you and an experienced estate planning lawyer go over these 5 documents listed, you can be sure that your estate will not have to be one of them.