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Baby boomers buy misconception that living wills are for elderly

A recent study shows that members of the baby boomer generation are fumbling a very important piece to the estate planning puzzle. A poll taken by the Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com revealed that 64 percent of baby boomers do not have a living will or a health care proxy. The poll involved 1,078 baby boomers.

Judging by the feedback offered during the study, baby boomers in Florida and across the country are neglecting to fulfill this task because they either still feel young or are just in denial about facing their own mortality. Regardless of the reason, just about any estate planner would advise individuals, both young and old, to draft a living will and appoint a health care proxy.

A living will not only allocates your assets when you pass on, but it is important in medical proceedings where you may be incapacitated and unable to vocalize decisions. A living will directs doctors on how to proceed in certain scenarios while a health care proxy can make decisions on your behalf. Because health issues can crop up in the lives of people both young and old, a living will is not geared toward just the elderly. Estate planners suggest that anyone over the age of 18 have some form of a living will.

Sadly, many wait until they are old and in poor health to finally see the benefit of a living will or health care proxy. In reality, individuals between the age of 18 and 25 are the ones who need to wake up to the practice. This age group is very susceptible to accidents while at the same time, their parents might not be deemed an agent by a health care power of attorney. They would have to obtain guardianship in court in order to make medical decisions for the young individual.

Source: Associated Press via Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, "Poll says few baby boomers have living wills," Nov. 20, 2011

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