The goals and needs of estate planning shift as life changes.  For a single person starting out, the goal of estate planning is designation of heirs.  Take for example, Richard who is 27, single, makes $65,000 a years, owns a car, a house, and has some money in retirement, as well as a trusted dog he picked up off the street.  Aside from the dog, nobody is depending on Richard’s income to survive.  Richard may decide the he does not need an estate plan.  If Richard were to die without any estate planning, his property would pass according to the law of Georgia.  As Richard does not have a wife or children, all of his property would pass to his parents.  This may be what Rischard wants.

Although all of Richard’s property will pass to his parents on his death by operation of Georgia law, Richard may want to do some estate planning.  He may wish to draft a will to alter who will receive some of his property.  Maybe there is a charity he wants to benefit with the money in his retirement account, or there is an autographed baseball that is a special memory for his cousin.  Drafting a will enables Richard to leave his property to whom he wishes.

Another part of estate planning that Richard may want to consider is an advanced directive for healthcare.  A Georgia advanced directive for healthcare accomplishes two distinct things: allows Richard to name who will make healthcare choices on his healthcare should he not be able to make such choices for himself and second, allows him to communicate his preferences for healthcare.  By documenting his healthcare choices, Richard is providing a gift to his loved ones by relieving them of the burden of trying to predict what Richard would have wanted.

As is evident from Richard’s story, there are benefits to estate planning at any age.  For more information on estate planning, visit