While the definition of “estate plan” varies widely and the meaning of “young” is extremely relative, the answer to the question is a resounding YES! If you are over the age of 18, you need to engage in some form of estate planning.
Proactively planning for incapacity
While some pieces of an estate plan control what happens AFTER you die, arguably the two most important documents relate to temporary and permanent incapacity DURING your lifetime.
The Power of Attorney allows you to appoint your chosen agent to step into your shoes and control your financial decisions if you are unable to do so for yourself. The Health Care Proxy appoints your agent to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so after an accident or a major health crisis.
If you fail to proactively plan and become incapacitated before executing a Power of Attorney and/or Health Care Proxy, the only option for your loved ones is to commence a very costly and invasive Guardianship proceeding. This proceeding takes the control out of your hands and allows the Court to decide who can make your decisions for you.
Major changes at 18
Upon a child turning 18, parents lose the inherent authority they once had to make financial and health care decisions for their children. At a bare minimum, every young adult needs a fully executed Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy.
Estate plans evolve
Once you begin to acquire assets and/or have children, you will likely add a Last Will and Testament to your estate planning portfolio. Upon your death, your Will dictates who inherits your assets and appoints guardians and/or trustees for your minor children.
Don’t delay, plan today
While you may need a more complex estate plan as you age, upon acquiring more assets, or if your health declines, this is not a reason to postpone executing the first stage of your plan. If you are over 18 and do not have these important documents in place, there is no time like the present to speak an Estate Planning attorney. No one has ever regretted proactive planning.