Estate planning is typically seen as something for older adults ages 50 or above. Even for people past the age of 50, it is still seen as something that they can continue to put off until later. However, having an estate plan is as important for a 25-year-old as it is for an 85-year-old.
Life is filled with the unexpected, and if something unexpected happened to you, then you would want to make handling your estate as simple as possible for your family. Estate planning is a tool to make sure that your family doesn't have to endure the stress of dealing with your assets and to make sure that your last wishes are known and carried out.
What Age Should You Consider Estate Planning?
There is no set age that one should focus on when it comes to creating an estate plan. That said, early planning is often the best planning, and as such, you should consider estate planning as soon as you turn 18.
However, there are many who continue to put it off despite estate plans being the natural counter to the unexpected. Establishing an estate plan early makes your wishes known and allows for easy changes to be made as you come to different milestones in your life such as marriage, children, or home ownership.
Why Does a Young Adult Need an Estate Plan?
A newly legal adult may think that they have virtually no assets and as don't need an estate plan. However, estate planning is more than just dealing with retirement accounts and designating beneficiaries.
Easing The Stress Through a Living Trust
Estate plans can help you set up a living trust to distribute your assets to your family. This often seems unnecessary when you are young and without a lot of assets, but for grieving family members, having something in place eases the strain compared to forcing them to go through probate or dealing with any aggressive creditors.
With a plan and beneficiaries in place, it sets a solid foundation to help your family begin the process of moving forward.
Managing Digital Assets
These days a person's assets are more than monetary or what they physically own – you have digital assets as well. These digital assets can be a hassle to manage without a legally-binding plan in place. Your family may have difficulties accessing and managing everything from social media accounts to online payment platforms without something that gives them legal authority to do so.
Assuring Your Children Are Protected
Estate planning is particularly important for young parents as it will be some time before your child can make decisions about themselves, much less about your estate. An estate plan means that you can set up your assets to make sure your children are provided for in the future. Furthermore, a crucial part of estate planning is making plans for who would take over care of your young child as well as who would manage the assets left to them until they reached a certain age.
Managing End-of-Life Decisions
If you have barely any assets, it is easy to push estate planning off. However, the most important thing that an estate plan does for a young person is it makes their wishes known. You aren't as likely to discuss your end-of-life wishes with your family when you are still young, and that often means they won't know what path you want them to take if you become incapacitated.
An estate plan includes crucial decision-making information like healthcare directives and instructions for burial. It can also assign someone as your medical power of attorney to make difficult decisions about your healthcare if you cannot do so yourself.
Estate Plans Let Your Wishes Be Known
If you pass without an estate plan, the decision as to who gets what out of your assets is usually left to the state. However, the state doesn't know you and because there is no estate plan, it doesn't know your wishes.
Even more problematically, the probate process often moves sluggishly. It could be years before your estate case is settled, and probate can cost thousands. Allowing your estate to go into probate is taking away money from your heirs.
Taking The First Estate Planning Step
Starting the estate planning process doesn't need to be a hassle. If you are ready to take the first step towards estate planning to make sure your assets and wishes are secured for your loved ones, contact us today. The Law Offices of James C. Shields are dedicated to making sure your estate is planned for and making the process as simple as possible.