There are those who think that estate planning is something that only people who have reached their twilight years need to consider, but this is really not the case. The Grim Reaper does not send an RSVP, and though we would all like to think that we will live long robust lives there are some of us who do indeed pass away before our time. Death is simply part of the human condition and though no one embraces it, the wise course of action is to prepare for it intelligently and pragmatically so that your family members are not left in a bad situation if you pass away suddenly.
Executing advance health care directives to state your wishes with regard to medical procedures that you would be willing to accept or deny in the event of your incapacitation is a part of the modern estate plan. People of all ages sometimes suffer incapacitating illnesses or accidents, and along these lines the case of Terri Schiavo that was highly publicized several years ago is a good example to consider. She did not have a living will or durable medical power of attorney in place when she fell into a vegetative state after suffering full cardiac arrest at just 26 years of age.
Her husband and her parents ultimately disagreed about whether or not she should be kept alive through the use of feeding tubes after some eight years in this unresponsive state. A legal struggle ensued between her loved ones that could have been avoided if she had executed the proper advance directives.
It could be said that you should have an estate plan in place as soon as you become a self-supporting adult, but when you get married and become a parent it becomes an absolute must. You have to name a suitable guardian for your child or children who would care for them in the event of the death of you and your spouse, and there must be adequate life insurance coverage to provide for your family should you pass away.
The bottom line is that estate planning is not just for the elderly. Any one of us can pass away at any time, and when you fail to make the appropriate preparations it is your family who will suffer should the unthinkable take place.