Many people think that estate planning is only for the rich or elderly. It’s also easy to think that estate planning for young adults is a waste of time because of a perceived lack of assets, but chances are you have more financial assets than you know. In reality, estate planning is about so much more than just how your possessions will be divided in the event of an untimely passing. Here are some of the most important reasons for young adults to consider planning their estate as early as they can.
Electing A Decision-Maker
The term ‘estate planning’ might make you think of a last will and testament for when the worst happens. In reality, estate plans also allow you to select a decision-maker if you are ever physically or mentally incapacitated. As soon as you turn eighteen, your parents have no legal control or say with regards to your assets or health care decisions, even if you want them to be. By choosing someone to take control of your health or financial decisions if you are unable, you ease a process that would otherwise cause a lot of stress in an already stressful situation.
There are two main roles in which you should consider choosing a decision-maker. A durable power of attorney for health care is someone who has the legal authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. This doesn’t mean that they have a say in all of your current health care decisions, as an attorney will work with you to make sure that these provisions only come into effect when you want them to. Related to this, it’s necessary to provide medical personnel with Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorizations so that they can share information about your medical condition with the people you choose.
The second decision-maker you need to choose is a durable financial power of attorney. You can choose one person to represent you in all forms in the event of incapacitation. This person has the legal authority to manage your assets and make financial decisions on your behalf without any court interference. As always, you can work with your attorney to ensure that this authorization only takes place under your specific guidelines.
Starting A Family
If an estate plan was important before, it’s even more vital once a child is born. Preparing for their future lets you know that there won’t be a long bout of court interference in the event of your passing, and provisions can be made concerning guardianship, the division of your assets, and the child’s expenses.
Minor guardianship is a large part of an estate plan. The two domains within this area cover guardianship of the person and guardianship of property. Guardianship of the person refers to the individual who will have control over the minor’s residence, health care, and schooling decisions. Guardianship of property refers to the management of the minor’s assets, most often acquired through inheritance.
Family considerations are equally important when there is no minor present. Without express legal intent, long term unmarried partners are often left out of state-assigned inheritance rulings. Taking the time to make sure you have a will that includes all of your wishes smooths the process following an untimely passing.
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to such weighty decisions, and as such it’s always better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared. Without the necessary legal guidance, your wishes may be misinterpreted or deemed invalid in a court of law. Schedule an appointment with us at Handin Law today, and let us guide you through the estate planning process with our decades of legal experience.