Why millennials need an estate plan
Young people often have a false sense of security that they do not need a will. Due to this, an estimated 78% of millennials do not have wills, which isn’t surprising when about 60% of all Americans do not have an end-of-life plan.
It is crucial to have an end-of-life plan in order to protect your wishes for your children and your assets. In addition to a will, there are other documents that can protect you and your family in case of death, or even an accident or serious illness that may leave you incapacitated. It is recommended to review your will every ten years to see if it still meets your needs. As you go through life you may acquire new assets, get married and have children. Updating your will every ten years or after major life changes will ensure that nothing important is neglected.
Millennials often believe they do not need a will because of the following:
- Millennials think it’s too early to worry about creating a will since they believe they have many years ahead
- They’re having children later in life
- Millennials are buying houses and accumulating assets later in life
Millennials use the above reasons to justify not having a will, however, there are many reasons estate planning is imperative to protecting yourself and your loved ones, even if you feel you don’t have assets and plenty of time in the future to plan.
Making Healthcare Decisions
Once you turn 18, your parents may be unable to make any healthcare decisions on your behalf. Car accidents, serious illnesses, and unforeseen events are a part of life, even for a young, healthy person. Creating a healthcare power of attorney can provide someone you trust with the power to make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. These decisions can range from speaking directly to healthcare providers to donating your organs or making choices about life-sustaining treatment. An attorney can ensure that your wishes are carried out if you’re ever unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself.
Protecting Your Assets
Millennials may have more assets than they realize. Your assets can include cars, houses, 401k’s, bank and savings accounts, and valuable items. Working with an estate lawyer will help you identify what your assets are and arrange it so that upon your death they go to the people you choose. What you have is important to your loved ones, and it is easier on them to obtain these assets based on your wishes and not the laws of the state.
Security for Unmarried Couples
Millennials tend to get married later in life compared to previous generations, or live with a long-term partner but remain unmarried. This bears the risk of not having the typical protections of a legal marriage. Creating a healthcare power of attorney and a financial power of attorney will allow one’s partner to make decisions and manage affairs in case their partner becomes incapacitated and will ensure that their significant other is granted their joint assets (or not).
Protect Your Children
If you have children, having a will is crucial. If you become unable to care for your children due to an illness or accident, estate planning will ensure they have someone of your choosing to care for them. Wills also provide the opportunity for you to create trusts for your children that can be handled by a guardian of your choosing until they are old enough to receive it. If you do not nominate a guardian for your children, the courts will appoint one for you. The decision of who will care for your children should be left up to you, not the court.
Why Wills Matter
Though it may be difficult to consider, having a will prepares you and your loved ones for the inevitable. In New York, the Surrogate’s Court handles the affairs of decedents (people who died), including probates of wills and administration of estates. Without a will, obtaining the legal authority to administer an estate usually requires the proposed administrator to post a bond. The bond requirement for Surrogate’s Court can be waived if you have a will. In addition, a will affords you the right to choose an executor to administer your estate, leaving someone you trust to handle your assets.
No matter your situation, it is never too early – or too late – to create your end-of-life plan. Meeting with a qualified attorney ensures that you form a plan in which your estate fully protected. For a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C.
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