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I’m too young: Do I really need to make an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Estate Planning

Many young people assume that estate planning is necessary only for older adults or the rich. This common misconception often leads to procrastination in addressing crucial financial and personal matters. Estate planning does not only prepare for death; it can help protect your interests in case of unexpected events and also help ensure that your wishes are respected.

Age doesn’t matter—if you are in your 20s or early 30s, with limited assets or just starting your career, an estate plan can be an integral part of responsible adulthood. Estate planning includes more than drafting a will. It features different legal tools and documents to manage your affairs.

Why estate planning matters for young adults

Young adults, especially those with children, assets or significant life responsibilities, should consider the comprehensive benefits of estate planning to safeguard their future.

  • Unexpected circumstances: Life is unpredictable. Accidents and illnesses can occur at any age, often without warning. Without an estate plan, your family may face legal hurdles and financial strain in managing your affairs. A well-drafted estate plan can ensure your medical and financial preferences are honored if you cannot make decisions for yourself.
  • Guardianship for minor children: If you have children, you should consider assigning a guardian. This decision allows your children to receive care from someone you trust if something happens to you. Without a guardian, the court will have to decide who will raise your children, possibly placing them in the care of someone you wouldn’t have chosen.
  • Asset management: Even if you don’t own significant assets, you likely have more than you realize – such as savings accounts, retirement plans, life insurance policies and personal belongings. Estate planning helps you control how these assets are distributed, preventing potential disputes among family members and helping ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
  • Advance directives: Living wills and advance directives let you express your wishes on end-of-life care and medical treatment. These documents guide those around you, including healthcare providers, in making decisions that match your values and preferences.

Estate planning is also for anyone who wants to have their wishes respected in case of incapacitation.

If you can address potential future scenarios now, you can provide peace of mind for yourself and those you care about. It’s important to seek legal guidance throughout this process to create an effective, enforceable estate plan tailored to your unique circumstances.