Many Americans are – very understandably – under the impression that estate planning is a task that only some adults need to pay attention to. Older individuals, parents of young kids and wealthy individuals have clear estate planning needs. Yet, it is important for every single American adult – young and old – to make sure that they have an accurate, up-to-date estate plan in place.
The idea that young adults in particular need to engage in estate planning comes as a surprise to many. This is partially because the purposes of estate planning are rarely discussed by the media and are rarely referenced by pop culture.
Estate planning doesn’t just involve determining who will inherit one’s physical assets after death. It also concerns medical care in the event of incapacitation, management of online accounts and a host of other issues that are relevant to adults of all ages and socioeconomic statuses.
Benefits of estate planning at a young age
Estate plans can be updated as an individual’s circumstances and preferences evolve over time. Yet, it is important to have a basic, comprehensive estate plan in place at all times because no one knows what tomorrow may bring.
In addition to crafting a simple will to express one’s wishes concerning the distribution of sentimental and valuable assets, it is important to have a digital estate plan, an advance healthcare directive and a power of attorney designation in place. These medical documents will help to ensure that a young adult’s wishes are respected if they are ever incapacitated due to illness or injury. A digital estate plan will govern how a young adult’s online “footprint” is managed in the event of death or incapacitation.
When young adults understand what estate planning consists of and what the benefits of having an accurate one in place are, they’ll almost certainly be inspired to embrace the task at hand. As a result, this younger generation will be better prepared to face the uncertainties of life ahead.