Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn’t just for the elderly or the super-wealthy. That’s because estate planning involves more than simply drafting a will to pass on any assets you may have. Estate planning is for everyone — at any age.
It’s beneficial to have an estate plan in place from the time you reach adulthood, and your parents can no longer make decisions on your behalf. You’ll then want to revisit your estate plan as you reach various stages in life to ensure that you can live and end your life on your own terms.
Why you should engage in estate planning as a young adult
Your parents can only make medical decisions on your behalf until your 18th birthday. You’ll want to sign a health care power of attorney giving them the right to continue making decisions on your behalf (if you’re incapacitated and unable to do so yourself).
Benefits to estate planning as you start your career
Your employer will likely have you complete retirement and life insurance beneficiary forms if they offer either of these when starting your job. Completing these will more easily allow you to pass on these valuable assets to your loved ones when you’re gone.
Revisiting your estate plans when you marry
You’ll want to revisit any beneficiary designation forms to potentially update them with your new spouse’s name once you marry. You’ll also want to draft a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship agreement so that your property rights can seamlessly pass on to your spouse when you pass away.
Estate planning to engage in once you have kids
You’ll want to start thinking about who you’d like to appoint to care for your kids if something happens to you from the moment you find out that you’re expecting a child. You may also want to consider funding a trust to provide financial resources to your appointee to raise your child.
The role of an attorney in the estate planning process
Nowadays, you can find virtually anything online, including estate planning documents. These forms aren’t often state-specific, and the companies offering them don’t tell you when you need them or how to properly execute them, though. An attorney can provide you with their experienced guidance so that your estate planning documents will stand up in a court of law when the time comes.