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There is no official guidebook to help you navigate the requirements of being a successful and productive adult. Many people will struggle to manage some of the more complex requirements of adulthood, potentially because they never received any formal education about certain important needs.

Estate planning is a consideration that far too many people put off indefinitely. Maybe their parents never talked about it at home, or perhaps they didn’t have any practical education that outlined the importance of creating a last will. Regardless of why people overlook it, it’s important that if you are someone who doesn’t have a last will, you take steps to correct that as soon as possible.

If you are an adult with substantial assets, significant debt, a spouse, long-term romantic partner or children, you absolutely should have an estate plan in place to protect the people who depend on you and outline your wishes.

If you die without a last will, the people you love can lose out

If you are in a long-term, committed relationship but don’t get married, your partner could be left incredibly vulnerable if you pass away unexpectedly. Creating a last will when you have a spouse or partner helps protect their interest in your shared assets.

If you have children, you should seriously consider the importance of naming a guardian to protect them if you die and safeguarding assets to help them cover the costs of life without you. Those who die without a last will in Arizona will likely have their estate go through probate court. The probate courts will apply intestate succession laws to your assets and debts. That means that neither you nor the people you care about will have a say in how the probate courts allocate your possessions.

Taking the time to make a thorough estate plan protects you

A good estate plan doesn’t just contain a last will and testament. Instead, it contains a variety of documents that explore both the handling of your assets after your death and the care and assistance you might need if you ever experience a serious medical issue in the future.

Your estate plan could include trusts that help shield assets for your children, as well as a living will with documents related to your potential medical incapacitation. A living will typically includes power of attorney documents that authorize others to handle financial and medical decisions for you. You may also want to create an advanced medical directive that explains what your wishes are in relation to certain medical procedures.

Putting off the creation of your last will or estate plan not only leaves your estate vulnerable but also puts your loved ones in a difficult position if something were to happen to you. By creating a last will now, you can protect your plans for your assets, the people you care about and your medical preferences and wishes.