Estate Planning for Young Adults
When most young people hear the term “estate planning,” they may think it only applies to older people or those who have a large amount of assets they need to protect. However, there are a number of reasons a young adult should have an estate plan, and it’s always better to get started earlier rather than later. If you’d like to learn more about estate planning for young people but aren’t sure where to begin, reach out to The Law Office of David G. Bale today. David Bale’s offices are in Westerville, Ohio, but he’s able to help clients throughout Worthington, New Albany, Delaware County, and Franklin County.
At What Age Should Someone Consider Having an Estate Plan?
Many young people, as well as parents of young adults, are concerned about the future and want to make sure they’re taking the right steps in preparation. The most common question people have about this process is, “At what age should you think about estate planning?” Unfortunately, there’s no one answer that will serve everyone. The truth is it’s almost never too early to begin planning. By starting an estate plan as a young adult, you can set up the basic framework now and then add and modify your plan as your life becomes more complex and you accumulate more assets.
Some people like to form their own estate plan at the age of 18 since this is when you’re legally responsible for yourself and your parents can no longer make legal decisions on your behalf. Others choose to start planning after they graduate college and begin their careers, while others wait until they’re married or have a child.
Why Should a Young Adult Have an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is simply a legal document that outlines your wishes for what should happen to your assets after you die, and it can also include end-of-life directives. None of us know when we’ll pass away, and the only way to truly know for certain that your directions will be observed is to lay them out in an estate plan. This not only ensures your wishes are followed, but it can also dramatically reduce the burden you leave on your loved ones after an unexpected death. This planning becomes even more important if you’re married or have minor children who depend on you for financial and emotional support.
Important Elements of a Young Adult’s Estate Plan
If you’re interested in getting started, the next question you should ask yourself is, “What should a young adult’s estate plan include?” There are four main documents that any young person (or a person of any age) should have as part of their estate plan: a will, a durable power of attorney, a revocable trust, and an advance directive. (Of course, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney for guidance on what documents you should create for your own unique needs.)
Will: The backbone of any estate plan begins with a will, and this is the easiest component of an estate plan. Wills can include a list of your assets and the beneficiaries they should go to after your death. In your will, you can name a legal guardian for any minor children; you can also name guardians for your pets. Perhaps the most important part of a will is that it will name an executor, and this is the person who will be responsible for executing the will according to your directions. This can be a family member, a close friend, or a third party (like an attorney).
Durable Power of Attorney: Another key component of estate planning for young adults is a durable power of attorney. This document allows you to name someone who can make important decisions on your behalf should you die or become incapacitated.
Revocable Trust: Not everyone will need a revocable trust, but for those young people who do own a sizable amount of assets, this is essential. Unlike a will, assets that are put into a trust are legally transferred into the name of a trustee who is then responsible for distribution after you pass away. While you are living, you still have complete control over the assets and can add and remove items as well as beneficiaries. Trusts have the added benefit of not having to go through probate upon your death, which can save your heirs time and money.
Advance Directive: Lastly, all estate plans should include an advance directive (sometimes called a living will). This document outlines your end-of-life wishes as well as gives directives for any medical treatments you do or do not want should you become unable to communicate your wishes. These will often also include naming a healthcare proxy, which is a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Turn to Reliable Representation
If you’re in the Westerville, Ohio, area and would like to speak to an estate planning attorney about setting up an estate plan, call The Law Office of David G. Bale to schedule a consultation. It’s never too early to start planning for your future, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be.