With the holiday season upon us, it is the perfect time to discuss estate planning with your loved ones. While most people immediately think of their older loved ones when it comes to estate planning, it is also a great opportunity to discuss the importance of planning with the young adults in your life. While they may think they are too young or don’t have assets worth protecting at this point in their life, getting a head start is greatly beneficial. Below we discuss some talking points you can share with the young adults in your life regarding estate planning.
Why It is Important to Plan Now
As soon as a child turns 18 years old they are considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Many of the rights parents had in making medical and financial decisions for their minor children are no longer available. Not only that, but many major milestones frequently occur in young adulthood such as going to college, buying a house, getting married, getting a pet, and having children
These life events increase the importance of estate planning for younger adults, so they should consider the following while assessing their estate planning needs.
Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney
Since parents can no longer help out, it is imperative that young adults sign a Health Care Proxy to outline their health care wishes and designate a Durable Power of Attorney to manage financial decisions, should assistance be needed.
Protecting Their Assets
Young adults often don’t realize the value in their estate given high debt loads. However, real estate, cars, jewelry, and family heirlooms all have value, and it is important that these assets are distributed to whom and how they want them. Many young adults are marrying later in life but may still be sharing homes and other assets with significant others. Creating an estate plan can help make sure that an unmarried partner may continue to live in their home, even if it isn’t in their name.
Protecting Their Digital Assets
In an age where young people use the internet for anything and everything, it’s important for families to know where all their digital assets are. Treasured photos that might only exist on a laptop and social media accounts are only scratching the surface of digital assets today. Adding a Digital Executor to their estate will help make sure loved ones are given access to their digital information.
Guardianship Over Children
The moment a child is born, an estate plan becomes imperative. By creating a will and naming guardians for their children they are ensuring they will be in the hands of someone they can trust if anything were to happen. It is important that the young adults in your life understand the importance of making this decision and not leaving it in the hands of a judge.
Guardianship Over Pets
For families with or without children, planning for pets is another important consideration. Even if they were to bestow guardianship of their pet to a family member or friend, that still doesn’t mean the new guardian has to care for the pet. They can protect their pet by setting up a pet trust, and set aside money and greater accountability for your pet’s care.
Protecting Their Family from Probate Court
Considering whether they need to create a trust is an important step in making an estate plan. Preventing their heirs from spending a year in probate court and helping them get access to assets the moment they need it is one of the many benefits of setting up a trust. If they have children and a home, trust planning is an important consideration.
Prevent Burdening Their Family with Student Loans and Other Debt
Student loans are a huge source of debt for many young adults and often take decades to fully pay off. While federal loans are forgiven if the borrower dies, some private student loans are less generous and may even accelerate the debt after death. Buying life insurance at a young age can be very affordable and one of the best things they can do to prevent their family from being burdened with student loans if the unexpected happens.
The team at Scott Bloom Law is pleased to introduce our Young Adult Dependent Program, specifically developed to help you as you enter legal adulthood. Being prepared for any crises that may arise as you enter adulthood allows for peace of mind for you and your family. Having the proper paperwork in place now can help you avoid undue stress in the future should an unexpected crisis arise. Contact the team at Scott Bloom Law to schedule a free consultation and to find out how we can help you make the most of your independence.