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Do you have these basic estate planning documents in place?

It's a fact that few of us like to contemplate our own mortality. But planning for life's eventualities, including the big one — death — is part of the maturation process.

That's why it's important for those in their 30s to consult an estate planning attorney to draft some of basic estate planning documents. This is important whether or not you are single, married or whether or not you have children.

Below are the documents you will need to bring your estate plan current.

  • Retirement fund - It's easy to forget about the golden years while you're still hungry and building a career. Failing to plan ahead for your retirement is quite foolish, however. Take advantage of employers' 401(k) contributions and profit-sharing, if available. Routinely review and update your beneficiaries as well, especially after major life changes like divorce or a death.
  • Will - Those without hefty estates often figure that wills are unnecessary, but they are wrong. Everyone has assets and possessions they leave behind, and without a will to spell out who gets what, there is a risk that a person you don't intend to have your possessions will be the one who winds up with some or all of them.
  • Living will - This document details your preferences for the type and level of care to be provided to you if you suffer from a terminal illness, have irreparable, catastrophic brain damage or are otherwise incapacitated.
  • Health care proxy - Select a person to oversee your medical condition and make decisions about your health care when you are no longer able to.
  • Power of attorney - Choose someone to handle your financial affairs and manage your assets should you become incapacitated.
  • Life insurance - Purchasing a term life insurance policy eases your mind that your spouse, children or other family members won't be saddled with debts and funeral expenses. This is even more vital if they depend upon your income to meet their needs.

Take the steps now to ensure your future, and that of your loved ones and family members, by preparing these basic estate planning documents.

Source:, "6 Estate Planning Moves You Should Make in Your 30s," Michele Lerner, accessed Sep. 29, 2017

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