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In a recent interview with The NY Times, Gary Altman stresses the importance of having an estate plan, even for those who have never been married.
According the Pew Research Center who analyzed recent census data, 20 percent of adults age 25 and older in 2012 had never married. This number is up from just 9 percent back in 1960.
“It’s better to come up with a choice, even if it’s not exactly right, than not to make a choice and have your money go to distant relatives who you don’t know or like,” said Altman, the founder and principal lawyer at Altman & Associates, an estate-planning law firm in Rockville, Md.
As a seasoned estate planner, Altman has seen the mess that a lack of advanced planning can leave cause in life and in death - from medical decisions being made by a less than ideal person to financial fraud and, of course, an estate being left to unintended beneficiaries.
Altman reminds clients daily that estate planning is for everyone, regardless of whether or not they're married, have kids, have a large estate, etc. It's just something that needs to be done.
Altman's friend, Edward W. Gjersten, II, Vice President of the financial planning and money management firm, Mack Investment Securities, and President of the Financial Planning Association, was also quoted in the piece saying, “It’s their legacy — what the client wants to be known for.”
That being said, people must ask themselves if they want their legacy to be determined by choice or by a court of law due to a lack of planning.