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It's National Estate Planning Awareness Week!

It's National Estate Planning Awareness Week!

Did you know such a week existed? Indeed it does, Oct. 15-21, is officially National Estate Planning Awareness Week for this year. This is a call for all adults across the nation, in Los Angeles and elsewhere, to plan ahead in an effort to protect their wishes and their family.

Los Angeles residents that don't have a substantial sum of assets, or are young and feel like they are in good health may feel quick to dismiss this week and its adjacent call to plan as something they will deal with when the time is necessary. However, estate planning and living wills are not just for millionaires. They are crucial to every individual.

Why? Well, if an individual has children, it would behoove that individual to have a will naming a guardian for the children in the event that something happens. If an individual still isn't convinced because they aren't concerned about their assets at the moment, nor do their have children, it might be beneficial for that individual to contemplate their health. Yes, that individual may be in perfectly good condition while reading this. But, what if the unthinkable happens; an individual gets in a car accident and is placed on life support.

It is important for individuals to sign a health care proxy so that in the event that the individual is unable to express their wishes regarding their medical treatment, there is someone they trust to do so according to the individual's wishes. A living will can also convey in a definitive manner any extraordinary support an individual wishes to be given at end of life.

Of course, assets are an important component as well. The fact of the matter is that no matter how large or small an individual's assets amount to, that individual should have a say over what happens to those assets at the time of passing. This week is an opportunity to reflect on what it is an individual would like to happen at the time of their passing. While that isn't necessarily a pleasant set of circumstances to contemplate, it may motivate individuals to take the first step by thinking about this as a chance to protect their family and their health.

Source: Forbes, "The Forbes Guide To Estate Planning," Janet Novack, Oct. 14, 2012