Many people mistakenly believe that you don’t need to start estate planning until you are older. Only 20% of U.S. adults who are 18-29 years old have a will (Gallup, “How Many Americans Have a Will?”). However, you can and should start estate planning as soon as you turn 18 years old. Because you are an adult, your parents or guardians no longer have control over your medical and financial decisions, and your wishes can be honored.
If you think you’re too young to start estate planning, think again. You should start estate planning once you:
- Go to college. If you get into an accident while you’re on campus, what do you want your parents to do in terms of life support? Do you have any bills that need to be paid on your behalf? If the accident results in death, what are wishes in terms of funeral arrangements and the division of your assets? By preparing estate planning documents (i.e Advanced Healthcare Directives, Financial Power of Attorney, will, etc.),
- Move in with someone. If you move in with a romantic partner, you may want to update or draft a will that allocates some assets or funds to them.
- Get married. After getting married, you may need to draft or update your will to designate them as a beneficiary, give them power of attorney, make arrangements for your children or pets, etc.
- Have a child. If something were to happen to you, an estate plan can outline who you would like to appoint as the guardian of your child.
- Get an inheritance. An estate plan can include details concerning who you would like to be named as the beneficiary of your assets, including your inheritance. If you need help managing your inheritance, you may also consider setting up a trust.
- Open a new bank account. Sometimes, your bank may ask you to name a beneficiary on your account. However, you can also include those details in estate planning documents.
- Purchase a major asset. If you become a home or business owner, estate planning can help you protect your family and estate by minimizing tax liabilities and helping them avoid probate.
- Start planning to travel internationally. If you are going to backpack through Europe or study abroad in Ghana, you should draft an estate plan because accidents can happen when you travel.
Estate Planning Documents Young Adults Need
Estate plans are drafted to address your unique needs and goals. Common estate planning documents young adults may need include:
- Wills. Working with an attorney, you can draft a legally valid will that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets.
- Powers of attorney. This document allows someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf concerning finances, medical decisions, etc. in the event you cannot.
- Guardianship. If you are a parent, you can designate a guardian for your child.
- Trusts. If you have an inheritance you wish to leave to children or others, you may consider setting up a trust.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
At Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC, Attorney Kimberly Cutler and our legal team are here to help you ensure your affairs are in order. You should retain our firm if you need help with any of the following estate planning documents:
- Powers of attorney
- Medicaid planning
- Deeds & transfers
- Tax issues
To schedule a consultation and speak with a member of our team, call (937) 403-9033 or reach out online today.