Estate planning should start early, experts advise


People in California know that millionaires and billionaires are created on a regular basis in the Silicon Valley and across the state. One of the most notable examples is Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook and one of the youngest, richest men in the world. Zuckerberg's success wasn't due to luck, it was the product of a carefully crafted and prepared business strategy. Now that he has more or less entrenched himself as a success in the business world, he has also turned his attention to ensuring success at the next step, estate planning.

Zuckerberg's substantial estate is invested in numerous business holdings, but he has also included a number of significant charitable causes in his estate plan, and is actively contributing by disbursing over a billion dollars of Facebook stock holding to various charities. Zuckerberg no doubt also has a contingency plan in place to determine what will happens to his assets in case of an untimely demise, as should every prudent young and aspiring entrepreneur. But it's not just Zuckerberg that needs protection, people of all ages and income ranges need an estate plan to protect themselves and their money.

According to an expert cited in a recent article, anyone with $100,000 or more in assets should definitely have a will and estate plan in place, no matter their age. Unfortunately, a lot of the so-called "young invincibles" have a difficult time confronting their own mortality, a mistake that could mean the loss of significant assets in legal fees, taxes and other losses that drastically reduce what the person's intended heirs will receive.

Avoiding probate is essential, and it can be done easily and relatively quickly with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. The biggest problem for young people, though, is usually just realizing the importance of protecting themselves and their heirs, and making the call.

Source: The Fiscal Times "How Zuckerberg Wannabes Should Plan Their Estates," Beth Pinsker, June 2, 2014

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