When you are young, dying, getting sick or becoming severely injured seems impossible. But it is important to be prepared for these catastrophic events, in case the unlikely does happen. Here, estate planning attorney, Douglas Lauenstein discuss why millennials should prepare their estate sooner rather than later.
Perhaps, as a Millennial, you believe estate planning is for the elderly, the wealthy or adults with families. Maybe you don’t feel you have any assets of worth to give away, or you have not even considered estate planning as a need. Whatever the case, there is no denying that preparation leads to success. Even the youngest Millennial has reason to develop an estate plan now, rather than putting things off until their 50’s and 60’s.
Many Millennials are passionate travelers. While traveling is a fun and exciting prospect, it can come with risks. What if you were to fall sick with malaria while sightseeing in India, or fall into a coma after a skiing accident in Boulder? These things happen, and without an estate plan, loved ones would be caught in long, frustrating legal battles determining how to deal with your ongoing health care, among other concerns.
The solution? Create a living will, also known as an advance medical directive, which details your treatment preferences and appoints a person to be your representative in dealing with doctors and making medical decisions if you become incapacitated. You can also create a durable financial power of attorney, which gives a representative of your choosing the ability to make financial decisions in your stead, if you become incapacitated. In the case of your death, creating a simple will can allow for your assets, regardless of their worth, to go to friends, family or even your favorite charity.
Perhaps you do not yet have children or a spouse—as is common with many Millennials who are forestalling these milestones in favor of other goals—but do have pets? What happens to these pets in the case of your untimely death? You may see your French bulldog as a member of the family, but the court views him as nothing more than property. And this property could land in a shelter if no one has been designated to care for him in your absence. By establishing a will, and designating a trusted person as your pet’s guardian, you will keep your furry, scaly or feathered friends safe and happy in your absence.
In some states, a digital executor is recognized as a legal body capable of making decisions for your digital estate. Have a prolific and popular YouTube channel, Instagram page or Twitter account? You may want to consider designating a digital executor who can carry out your wishes if you are incapacitated or deceased.
Finally, don’t forget about your 401(k) or IRA: you may not be tapping into them any time soon, but if you pass away and have not named any beneficiaries, the courts may be left to decide the fate of those assets. As you age, marry or have children, you can always change the beneficiary by filing a new beneficiary form.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a Millennial should choose to begin estate planning now. Feel overwhelmed? An estate planning lawyer can help guide you down the proper paths. For more information, contact the experienced estate planning attorney Douglas Lauenstein.