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    The following article printed in the Louisville Courier-Journal on January 27, 2008, is useful in determining when to have a Will prepared.


Proper Age for Making Will Varies

By J.W. Elphinstone
Associated Press

Q: I'm a healthy 30-something. When should I consider drawing up a will, and what other legal documents should I prepare?

A: It depends on your circumstances. If you individually own assets that don't have designated beneficiaries, such as real estate as opposed to a life insurance policy, and/or you have children, you should have a will.

"You should always draw up a will if you're concerned about how your assets will be passed," said Mark Stinson, director of planning for financial advisory firm Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors. "Otherwise, your assets will pass according to your state's laws."

Also, most states don't recognize the rights of unmarried partners, so including a non-spouse in your will, health-care proxy and durable power of attorney covers his or her rights.

If you have children under 18, you should have a will that stipulates who will raise them if both parents can't.

Make sure that you ask the potential guardian if he or she accepts the responsibility before putting guardianship in your will. Also name an alternate guardian in case your first choice isn't able to care for your children.

If you're leaving property or assets to your children, then you should also name a custodian or trustee to manage the inheritance until the child turns 18. It's best that the guardian and custodian are different people, so there won't be any conflicts of interest.

To make sure your intentions are carried out, name an executor of your will. This person should be someone you trust and who would settle your estate according to your wishes. For most young people, this person is a friend or family member, Stinson said.

In addition to a will, said certified financial planner Bedda D'Angelo of Durham, N.C., anyone 18 years old and older should prepare a durable power of attorney, a health-care proxy and a living will.

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