We’ve spent some time on this blog discussing the importance of getting your parents and elderly ones on track with the creation of their estate plan. While this is an important step to help them accomplish, you can’t overlook the importance of your own planning, even if you’re a young adult. After all, if you neglect estate planning until you’re older, you could be putting yourself, your assets, and your family at risk of unintended outcomes that are costly, stressful, and harmful to familial relationships.
But if you don’t have many assets, then what can an estate plan do for you? That’s a good question and one that we hope to answer here.
How an estate plan can help you as a young adult
Even if you’re young and don’t have many assets, a well thought out estate plan can be valuable to you. Here are some ways how:
- It can specify future care of your children: If you and your children’s other parent pass away without an estate plan, then your family members could end up fighting over your kids. As a result, your kids might end up in a home that’s not right for them, and your relatives might end up with broken relationships that are irreparable. You can avoid all of that by indicating in an estate plan who will serve as your children’s guardian.
- It can specify care of your pet: If you have a beloved pet, then an estate plan can put money aside for their care and specify who you’d like to provide for them when you’re gone. Your estate plan thus allows you to avoid a situation where your pet is left without a home and ends up in a shelter.
- It can protect you in the event of incapacitation: Although we don’t think about it much, we can become incapacitated at any moment. You could get hit with a serious medical condition or be severely injured in an accident. Either way, when you’re incapacitated and unable to act on your own, who is going to make decisions for you? Through your estate plan, you can name an individual to take charge of your health care and financial decision-making when you’re unable to do so.
- It can address the assets you do have: Even though you’re young and don’t have as many assets as your parents or grandparents, you probably have more than you think. You’ve probably got some money in the bank and equity built up in a car or a home. You might even have a retirement account through your employer, and you’ve likely got digital assets like your social media profiles and online photo banks. All of these assets can be distributed through your estate plan in accordance with your wishes. If you don’t plan, then those assets will be distributed in line with the state law requirements, which might not align with your wishes.
Don’t wait too long to create your estate plan
There are several benefits to estate planning, some who which aren’t discussed here. You want to take advantage of the protections afforded by the process. To do so, however, you need to understand your estate planning options and your goals. So, take the time you need to research what estate planning entails and what it can do for you and your family. That way you can make the fully informed decisions that are right for you.