Too Young for an Estate Plan? Think Again.
A common misconception about estate planning is that you can be too young to start estate planning. It’s never too early to develop an estate plan. You can become incapacitated, be gravely injured, or die at any age. To ensure your wishes are honored and have peace of mind, you should establish an estate plan as soon as possible.
When to Start Thinking About Estate Planning
You should start estate planning as soon as possible; you can even start as early as age 18. Besides becoming a legal adult, major life events that signal you should start estate planning include:
- Going to college. Before you leave for college, you should have estate planning documents, such as a Financial Power of Attorney and an Advanced Directive for Healthcare, prepared and signed.
- Moving in with someone. If you live with a partner but are not married, you can ensure they will be taken care of by leaving your assets to them. However, you will need to have an estate plan that clearly outlines your wishes.
- Getting married (or divorced). If you get married, you should have an estate plan so that you can help minimize the expenses and tax liability to your estate and spouse. Once you end a relationship, it is also important that you revise and update your estate plan.
- Opening a new bank account. You can designate a beneficiary and ensure your loved ones are provided for in your absence.
- Making a major purchase. If you buy a home, property, or large asset, an estate plan can help your family or heirs avoid probate and can ensure that the asset is left to the person of your choosing.
- Making travel plans. Planning to study abroad or go backpacking with friends? If so, you should create an estate plan and include medical directives and healthcare proxies. You never know what can happen while you travel.
- Having a child. You can appoint a guardian as well as leave assets for your children.
- Receiving an inheritance. After receiving an inheritance of any kind, you should update your estate plan (or draft one) to ensure it is left to a person or charity of your choosing. You may also consider establishing a trust to manage the inherited assets.
What Should Young Adults Include in Their Estate Plan?
Once you become an adult, your parents do not have control of your medical, financial, and life decisions anymore, and you can benefit from having certain estate planning documents. While every person is unique and has their own needs, you will likely need the following documents.
- Wills. You can determine how your assets will be distributed. Whether you want to give everything to loved ones, a charitable organization, or both, you need to draft a legal will.
- Advanced healthcare directives. If you are unable to speak for yourself, you can name someone in this document that can make medical decisions on your behalf.
- Financial power of attorney. If you are unable to handle matters on your own, this document allows someone to legally manage your finances and assets for you.
- Guardianship designations. If you do not include guardianship designations in your will or trust, you should include documentation that outlines your wishes for your children.
At Nelson, Taylor & Associates, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients successfully handle their legal matters. Our clients benefit from our personalized, client-focused legal approach, our attentiveness, and our compassion. If you are ready to start estate planning, we can advise you of your options and work to help you achieve your goals.
We offer the following estate planning services and are equipped to help clients with:
- Advance directives
- Powers of attorney
- Modifications to an existing estate plan
- Estate administration
- Probate matters
To learn more about our estate planning and estate administration services, contact our firm online or call (801) 901-7046.