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Young adults spend a lot of time thinking about the future.  However, they don't think about a living will. Maryland 18-year-olds should consider putting a plan in place in case of a serious injury or illness.

A case in point is the one involving Terri Schiavo who at 26 years of age became totally disabled and was unable to make her wishes known. Because of this, a 10-year battle between her husband and her parents about whether to remove a feeding tube that was keeping her alive ensued. The tube was eventually removed and Schiavo was permitted to die, but a living will could have prevented the court proceedings.

Many young adults don't see the need to have a living will at that age. However, a living will can be an important step in becoming an adult and can be included as part of a document known as a health care directive. Moreover, there are four additional things that every adult should consider having in place. They are: a durable power of attorney, so that a designated individual can make important financial decisions if needed; a will to document an individual's wishes for disposition of his or her assets after death; life insurance to help with end of life expenses and to pay any debts owed by the deceased; and beneficiary designations that can be added to most investment accounts and bank accounts so that the money is transferred to an intended individual.

Young adults who are considering adding any of these directives to their list of assets can speak with an attorney who focuses his or her legal practice in the area of estate planning. In this manner, the individual can make the best choices for his or her future and for the loved ones that would be left behind if an accident or illness did occur. Attorneys in Maryland that are dedicated to helping individuals plan their estates can give direction for setting up a living will and for any other directives that a young adult (or, indeed, any adult) feels would benefit him or her and the loved ones who would otherwise have to make these decisions. 

Source: Forbes, "A Different Kind Of Gift For Valentine's Day", Erik Carter, Feb. 13, 2015

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