Estate planning is for the young?
Mortality is often the farthest thing from the minds of young people.
They are busy getting degrees, starting careers, and growing families.
Estate planning can wait.
According to a recent The Cleveland Jewish News article titled “Younger generations should focus on estate planning, too,” delaying such preparations for the future is a mistake.
I remember my grandfather telling me the “the old must die, but the young may die” when I was yet in grade school.
While I do not remember the precise context, I do remember his words verbatim.
They made an impression on me, even at a young age.
Creating an estate plan is not restricted to the wealthy or the older generations.
Death and incapacity can strike at any time.
You should be prepared.
Young people, whether single or married, should be prepared for medical and financial emergencies.
They should set up health care powers of attorney and general durable powers of attorney.
Together, these fundamental legal documents designate trusted agents to legally act on your behalf for medical and financial reasons should you become incapacitated.
As an adult, your spouse or your parents are not automatically given such authority.
Without these powers of attorney, your loved ones would need to petition your local probate court for these rights.
That petition kicks off a process that will be a hassle for them, trigger unnecessary legal fees and court costs, and lay bare to the public record your health and financial condition.
A will is essential for passing your assets through probate if you die.
If you are young with minor children, then having a will is even more important.
Wills are used to nominate the guardians (i.e., backup parents) for any orphaned minor children.
If you do not have a will, the courts will decide who rears your children if you and your spouse are both deceased.
Although a will is used to direct assets through probate, some assets are not disbursed via probate but through beneficiary designations.
Accordingly, your estate planning should involve an update of your beneficiary designations on insurance plans, retirement accounts, and certain savings or checking accounts.
If you do this when you are young, you should also update your estate plan as your life situation evolves.
There are times where you may need more complex estate planning, such as asset protection or planning for business succession.
Whether relatively straightforward or complex, young people are uniquely are in danger when it comes to DIY planning.
Instructions are available online for nearly anything imaginable, whether it be learning a new song, jump-starting a car, or baking a cake.
Internet wills and powers or attorney are less effective and can have lasting negative impacts.
Whether you are young or older, you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (September 19, 2019) “Younger generations should focus on estate planning, too”