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Tragic reminder of the importance of estate planning

Because Torrance is so close to Los Angeles, we get to enjoy with our neighbors the highs and lows of the Dodgers and Angels. One of the recent low points was the news of the passing of pitcher Jose Fernandez. The 24-year-old Miami Marlins star known for his skill and joyful approach to the game died recently in a boating accident.

A recent column by a financial advisor noted that Fernandez's death reminds us all that "nothing in life is promised." He wrote, too, that the tragedy is also a reminder that it is crucial to have an updated estate plan that will protect you, and most importantly, protect your family.

The advisor said that when he meets a new client, he is more surprised when the person has an up-to-date estate plan than when a client does not. While a lot of people have wills, far too often they represent a person's wishes from a decade or two ago.

He notes that having "a will that is 20 years old might be worse than having no will at all." Do you really want to leave your assets to an ex-spouse? He adds that while you can create a will with an online form, it makes more sense to consult an estate-planning attorney so that you can benefit from their expertise.

He also urges people to designate beneficiaries on accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. It can help family members avoid probate.

In addition, he writes that parents with young kids should really purchase life insurance. It's a great way to protect your family, he says, and should be as common as buckling your seatbelt or putting a helmet on your child before they ride a bicycle.

A Torrance attorney experienced in estate planning can help you understand your options and create a lasting plan that protects those who are most important to you.

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