Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. After all, we can never predict what the future might bring. In fact, untoward incidents like sickness and accidents (to name a few) do not really discriminate, which is why no one is ever too young to start looking into estate planning. This, by definition, is making plans in anticipation of one’s death—that is, taking care to arrange the management and dispersion of one’s estate, including savings, any properties you own, and even liabilities.
While estate planning is often the norm for older adults with healthier estates, the fact is, even adults as young as those in their 20s stand to benefit from taking this step, too—even when they only have a few dollars to their name. This is because, at the most fundamental level, you don’t want your family to go through the lengthy and unnecessarily complicated probate process for what little you might have in your bank account, in case of your sudden demise. So with that in mind, here are what you need to consider when planning your estate.
Proxy and/or Power of Attorney
First thing’s first—estate planning essentially allows you to make decisions now while you’re still able. In turn, you’ll want to assign somebody who can make decisions for you when you are somehow incapacitated.
As a young adult, it’s very important, therefore, to name an agent and execute a health care proxy for the purpose. In a nutshell, this grants someone you trust the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf when you’re unable to. Additionally, a living will allows a young adult to inform their health care proxy and medical professionals which lifesaving technologies or procedures are acceptable to you and which are not.
Equally as important is to have a financial power of attorney in place, as well. Again, this legally allows someone to speak for you when you’re unavailable—but in this case, on financial matters. This will also come in handy if you’re studying or living abroad but need a parent to attend to taxes and other financial matters in your absence, as well.
Now, as a young adult, you might not pay your assets much heed as you’re most likely still building up your estate from scratch. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother with protecting whatever you might have, especially when you share them with a partner to who you’re not legally married to.
Consider this—in the event of your untimely demise, you will undoubtedly want to direct how your assets are distributed. But the fact is, without a designation by you, this may not happen. However, this can be easily circumvented by creating will or trust, making it a truly important part of estate planning.
In truth, you can only ever live life to the fullest (as you should) when you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re well-prepared for eventualities. Estate planning offers you many great ways to do that, so don’t let your young age stop you from taking this all-too-important step.
This article was composed by Suzie Wilson of HappierHome.net and edited by a member of the Meier Law Firm PLLC team.