Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on June 1, 2022
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The amount of young adults, those ages 18-34, who have estate plans prepared has increased since the pandemic began in early 2020. However, while more young adults have started this planning and are thinking about the future, many adults in this age range and older still do not have their estate plans ready. Of course, young adults might think they have no real reason to start planning so soon. They may not have amassed many assets at this point and don’t see any reason why estate plans wouldn’t be needed any time in the near future.
However, while many young adults neglect to create their estate plans, this only puts their assets at risk and can make things harder for their loved ones. It could be decades before your will or trusts are needed, but it’s always best to have a plan ready and created properly.
When Should You Start Estate Planning?
If you’re 18 or over, you can begin estate planning. Even if you’re still in college, it can be beneficial. While any adult can start estate planning, it’s especially important in certain circumstances. If you’ve just started your career or had a major life event like buying a house, getting married, or having a child, you should start planning for the future right away.
Reasons to Start Estate Planning Young
There are many reasons to begin young. Some of the reasons to start estate planning in your 20s and 30s include the following.
Have Control Over Your Assets
Often, those with significant assets ensure that their estate plans are well taken care of. When you’re still young, it’s understandable that you might not have many assets, but you’ll still have some. It doesn’t matter how much you have – it’s yours, and you should have a say in who would receive your assets after you’re gone. This also means considering beneficiaries for accounts such as a 401k through your employer.
Make Things Easier for Your Loved Ones
Passing away without estate plans means that you die “intestate”. Even if you don’t have many assets, this will put your loved ones in a difficult position. Having clear estate plans set aside in advance can help make the asset distribution process easier.
Appoint a Guardian for Your Child
If you have a minor child, it’s essential that you start planning your estate to ensure they’re cared for should you pass while they’re still young. Many might think of a will as a way to distribute their assets, but for those with minor children, it can do more. You can use your will to appoint someone you trust to act as their guardian. This gives you the confidence of knowing that you’ve helped ensure that someone reliable and responsible will be there to care for your child. If you don’t choose a guardian, the court will have to decide who they believe is most fit to take on this role.
Ensure Your Medical Wishes are Respected
Many young people have no reason to worry that they’ll become incapacitated, whether through illness or an accident. However, this is something no one has control over. Should you become incapacitated at some point and are unable to communicate your wishes, your estate plans can handle this for you. Advance directives, such as a living will, allow you to dictate the type of medical care you want and who you give permission to advocate on your behalf.
Get Help from an Estate Planning Attorney Today
No one wants to think about the future, especially when you’re young. While estate planning might not seem necessary right now, it’s always best to be prepared. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this process alone. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, our estate planning attorneys can help answer all of your questions and ensure your plans for the future are taken care of.
Contact us today to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.
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