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Here's a great gift idea: A basic estate plan

Everybody struggles to find gifts during the holiday season that express their love for family and friends. While it might seem strange, an estate plan might be an absolutely wonderful gift for someone you love.

No matter how young someone is, a basic estate plan is a necessity these days -- but many people delay putting their wishes in writing because there always seems to be a more pressing issue to handle (and another place to spend the money). That's what makes an estate plan such an ideal gift. Many attorneys have modest fees for basic plans, like a will and power of attorney documents.

Still not convinced that it's a great gift? In reality, everyone needs an estate plan because:

  • It's the best way to avoid the hassle -- and expense -- of probate. Even if you don't have a lot of assets, the ones that you do have deserve to be protected for your heirs. Otherwise, your assets could mostly end up going to the state. Personal mementos may not even go to the right people.
  • It's the only way to protect yourself in an emergency. If you were in a serious car accident that left you unable to manage your own affairs, is there anyone with the authority to manage them for you? A financial power of attorney grants someone the ability to step in and handle things.
  • It's the best way to ensure your health care wishes are followed. If you're in an accident, you have no way of knowing that your medical care will be handled the way you want it to be unless someone has your medical power of attorney.

While there are other elements of an estate plan that may eventually become necessary, every adult over 18 years of age should have these basics in place. Volunteering to pay for basic estate planning is a great gift -- one that shows that you genuinely care about the other person's well-being and future.

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