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How celebrity deaths show the importance of estate planning

People often procrastinate about estate planning. It can be difficult to think about death although it may become more prominent in people's minds after the death of a celebrity. For example, Nevada fans of basketball star Kobe Bryant might have thought about what would happen to their own families if they were killed in a sudden accident as Bryant was.

All adults need some kind of estate plan. Without one, the state will decide what happens to a person's assets. If a person does not have immediate family, assets could pass to distant relatives. A health care proxy and a power of attorney are important documents as well. A health care proxy appoints someone to make medical decisions for a person who is unable to. A financial power of attorney does the same for a person's finances. People with children can use a will to appoint a guardian for them. Without that, if a child's parents die, there might be a long court process, and the children could end up with a family member the parents would not have considered suitable.

A person who is in the situation of Kobe Bryant's widow must make some changes to the estate plan as a single parent. When a person dies in an accident, there could also be legal issues and a possible settlement.

People who have not made an estate plan or who have one that has not been updated for some time may want to contact an attorney. People creating a last will and testament or other estate planning documents may also want to talk to family members. This is not possible in all families, but when it is, having an ongoing conversation about the estate plan can help reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or challenges.

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