This is an article from Horn & Johnsen SC (http://hornjohnsen.com/) in Madison, Wisconsin, that we thought others may find helpful.
I am often asked whether an estate plan is truly necessary, especially for those who feel they are too young to be concerned about death, incapacity or taxes. In my professional opinion, unless you can guarantee that you are not going to die or become incapacitated anytime soon, then yes, you do need an estate plan now, even if you are young.
In my profession, I also encounter those who wish to believe they are immortal. This argument seems to be a common occurrence when one spouse wishes to plan and the other refuses to even discuss the matter because, well, “it’s just not going to happen”…
The most logical explanation for immortality is that you must be a vampire (or perhaps a werewolf). If you are, indeed, a vampire then you still must consider the possibilities. For example, how would your assets be distributed in the unfortunate event of a stake to the heart administered by a vampire hunter, an accidental beheading, or even catching fire due to a little too much exposure to sunlight? Although unlikely, every vampire must be aware of the potential dangers that surround all of us. If you have minor children and no plan, then your children might inherit your life insurance and other assets outright at the tender age of 18. If you have a blended family, or even if you have a traditional family but no plan, then your children could eventually be entirely disinherited. If you have no children, and if you have no plan in place, then the law might require us to track down all of your closest living blood relatives – quite the task if you live another several centuries!
The most important thing to keep in mind about estate planning is that your plan isn’t really about you, but rather it’s about those who you leave behind. Let’s face it: By the time your estate plan comes into play, you are either dead or mentally incapacitated! Most of us would like to ensure we don’t leave a mess for our loved ones to clean up when we’re gone.
“Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes.” -Benjamin Franklin