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Not Planning On Dying Is Dumb

BOSTON (CBS) - Thought we would cover more dumb money moves this week!

We all do some really dumb things when it comes to our money. And sometimes it is not what we do; it is what we don't do. Often we are not even aware of the consequences of our lack of action.

A recent survey* found that 50% of Americans with children do not have a will and almost three-quarters of adults under the age of 34 do not have one. Even more alarming, over 40% of baby boomers don't have one. The three reasons cited by survey respondents for not having a will: procrastination, a belief that they don't need one, and cost.

Almost everyone needs a will and estate planning is not expensive. If you have some assets you have accumulated, such as your home or retirement accounts or if you have kids, you have things you need to protect.

Estate planning allows you to plan for the day when you are not around to care for the loved ones in your life or plan on how your assets are to be distributed upon your death. Sounds easy, but no one wants to talk about their own mortality or morbidity.

If you do not have a will the state where you are living at the time of your death has a will in place for you according to their state laws. And for most individuals it is not always the way they would have planned it themselves.

If you are single and have a significant other and want to have them receive your assets you need to plan! If you are single and die without a will in Massachusetts your assets will go to your parents, siblings or cousins. Not your partner.

Wills should be updated whenever there is a life-changing event such as a marriage, a death, a birth, a divorce or when the tax laws change.

*, a legal services website

One more thing: There are two documents you need while you are living; the first is a Durable Power of Attorney appointing someone who can act on your behalf legally and financially if you are away or are incapacitated.  Second is a Health Care Proxy, which names someone who can make medical decisions for you if you are not capable. This individual should know how you feel about such things as life support and tube feeding. They may need to be your advocate.

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there.


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