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Younger residents of Washington, DC, need estate planning, too

Younger Washington, DC, residents most likely do not feel any urgency in preparing for incapacitation or death. They have their whole lives ahead of them and believe that there will be time for estate planning when they are older. Hopefully, that is true, but catastrophic accidents or illnesses can occur without warning and, without some estate plan in place, family members could be left scrambling and spending a significant amount of time and money in court.

If any Washington, DC, resident is involved in a serious accident or contracts a serious illness, he or she may not be able to make critical health care and financial decisions. Without an advance medical directive or durable power of attorney, family members will have to go to court in order to obtain the right to make decisions on behalf of their loved one. Such a delay could potentially be the difference between life and death.

Furthermore, family members could make decisions on that person's behalf that the individual would not have wanted. Clearly outlining his or her wishes could keep that from happening. In addition, the individual has the opportunity to choose whom they would trust to make these decisions.

Most people are uncomfortable contemplating their own mortality. However, life does not always give them the luxury of avoiding it. The temporary discomfort that may occur in planning for incapacitation and death is far outweighed by the benefits of estate planning. Drafting as estate plan could give family members the peace of mind that they will not have to guess what their loved one would want.

Source: Forbes, "Young People Need Estate Planning, Too", Tania Brown, Aug. 20, 2015

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