Java already does that for you implicitly. Explicitly initializing to null is redundant. If you initialize it to some other value, that's a different matter. Also, why do you use String for things that are named 'xxxDate' and 'xxxFlag' -- dates should be declared as Date and flags are usually boolean. Use the data type that's closest to the way the value is naturally represented. Using String may be expedient for display purposes but for calculations and logic, it makes coding more difficult and convoluted.