A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is reserved for the elderly. The truth is that if you wait until you’re older to create your estate plan, then you’ve waited too long.
Delaying in the creation of your estate plan could put you, your estate, and your loved ones at risk of an outcome that you never intended. Therefore, even as a young adult, you should seriously consider creating an estate plan now.
Why should you create an estate plan as a young adult?
There are several reasons. Here are some of the most important:
- Naming a guardian for your children: If you and your children’s other parent pass away, then your kids might end up in the midst of a custody dispute when multiple family members swoop in to try to take your children into their care. This can be stressful for everyone involved, and the uncertainty can be traumatizing for your children. You can avoid all of that, though, by naming a guardian in your estate plan.
- Incapacitation can happen at any time: You might feel young and healthy now, but the truth is that you could become incapacitated in the blink of an eye and without notice. This could happen in the aftermath of a car accident or subsequent to the sudden onset of a serious medical condition.
Without an estate plan in place, specifically a healthcare directive and a power of attorney, the question of who will make decisions on your behalf will linger. The person ultimately responsible for making important health and financial decisions on your behalf may not share your vision of what’s best for you, which could have irreversible ramifications. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can act now to name someone you trust to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- You have more assets than you realize: As a young adult, you might feel like you don’t have the assets necessary to warrant an estate plan. But there’s no minimum when it comes to creating a plan. And you probably have more assets than you realize. For example, think about your digital assets, which might include social media profiles, digital storage systems, and online accounts like PayPal. These assets all carry a certain amount of wealth, even if only in sentimental terms, but may be lost if you don’t address them in your estate plan. Also, even a smaller amount of assets can have a significant amount of meaning to your loved ones and can be directed as you see fit through an effective estate plan.
- You want to provide for your pet: If you have a beloved pet, then you should think about what will happen to them if you suddenly pass away. If figuring out who will care for them and how that care will be paid for worries you, then you might want to incorporate your pet into your estate plan through a pet trust.
Know what you can get out of an estate plan
An estate plan is completely customizable to suit your needs. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people simply don’t realize what they can get out of the estate planning process. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, educate yourself as much as you can so that you can make the decisions necessary to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.
Once you have an idea of what you want to address in your estate plan, then you can take more formal action to solidify your wishes into legally valid documentation.