Millennials, do you have estate planning documents in place? No? Why not? Is it because you think you don’t really have any assets, so you don’t need a Will? You’re young and don’t want to think about death or incapacity?
Estate planning is much more than just a Will, and has benefits regardless of age or perceived net worth. Estate planning includes planning for you while alive and for after death, both of which are important for everyone. A Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive will benefit any adult over the age of 18, as accidents and emergencies happen, and don’t discriminate by age.
Having a Power of Attorney will allow you to dictate who will manage your finances if you are not able to do so (you know, while you are on that 3-month back packing trip across Europe). Similarly, a Health Care Directive will allow you to appoint someone who can make health care decisions for you if you are not able to do so, and to make your end of life care wishes known.
Young adults need to consider their aging parents, as any amount of money your parents may receive from your estate may disqualify them from obtaining or continuing to receive Medicaid benefits. If you’re not married, don’t have children, and don’t have a Will, your estate is payable to your parents upon your death. It may be advantageous to designate people other than your parents as the beneficiaries of your estate, in which case you do need to have a Will.
Also, keep in mind that as you start a family it is essential to have a Will, not only so your “stuff” goes to whom you want, but also to designate who will be the guardian for your minor children in case of your death. It is never too early, and your net worth is never too low, to make a plan for the unimaginable, and to take care of your loved ones, by proper, carefully thought out estate planning.
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Jeff Bellomo, Esq.