It is never too early to start an estate plan. However, it can become too late.
Misconceptions exist about estate planning. Having wills and trusts are for the rich. Old, not young people need to document their wishes before they die.
Assumptions aside, being young and broke does not bring invincibility. Tragedies can occur in a split second. Without an estate plan, loved ones are forced to deal with issues beyond grief over the loss.
Estate planning is not about net worth. It is about ensuring that loved ones are taken care of following a tragic loss. The last thing that anyone wants is a costly and complex process of probate over a few thousand dollars.
Estate planning is not complicated. A few simple steps can provide family members peace of mind during a difficult time:
- Even at the tender age of 18, a young person is still an adult who do not have to rely on parents to make decisions. One of the more important early life choices they can make is designating a durable power of attorney and health care proxy for a trusted family member to make financial and medical decisions.
- Getting that all important first job provides benefits that may include a 401K and life insurance. A beneficiary must be named on each account to receive assets or death benefits if the account holder dies.
- A significant number of millennials are choosing to live with significant others before getting married. More often for this age group, marriage is occurring later in life. A will is vital because an unmarried partner will have few, if any legal rights in probate.
Estate planning at a young age may seem unnecessary. However, it can establish a strong foundation for young adults. Do-it-yourself approaches with template forms may seem attractive. However, it lacks the necessary personalization that an estate planning lawyer can provide.