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The simple reason why you can't afford to postpone estate planning

Among all of the services you may need throughout your life, chances are good that estate planning is not high on your priority list. Like most people, you may think that you have lots of time to get to it . . . eventually. And because no one wants to contemplate their own mortality, you may keep putting it off indefinitely.

The sobering reality, however, is that none of us knows exactly how much time we have left. Even if you are young and healthy, there are no guarantees about what tomorrow may bring. And because of this, having an estate plan in place should be a high priority.

In a recent newspaper column, a certified financial planner wrote about receiving the sudden news of a client's unexpected death. He had spoken to the woman just a week before she died, and he assumed that they would have future meetings in which to make important estate planning decisions. He was left feeling guilty that he was not more insistent that his client take action on certain matters.

It's important to remember that estate planning isn't just for your benefit. Indeed, save for end-of-life provisions, estate planning is not even primarily for your benefit. Rather, it is a way to ensure that your family and other loved ones will be taken care of and that your assets get passed along to your intended heirs.

None of us knows how much time we have left. We should be enjoying the present and looking forward to the future, and that could actually be easier to do with the peace of mind that comes from having a thorough estate plan in place.

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