If you're a millennial, making an estate plan may not be the first thing on your mind. For one thing, you may have more student loans than any sort of estate to speak of. You may also be busy establishing yourself in a career, buying a first home or starting a family. But despite having other more immediate preoccupations, it's important not to neglect creating an estate plan. You needn't be a certain age to have an estate plan, nor do you have to have a certain amount of money. For the reasons outlined below, having an estate plan is important for everybody, including millennials.
1. You have kids. If you have children, it's particularly important to establish an estate plan that includes a designated guardian for your children if anything should happen to you (injury, death) that would render you incapable of taking care of your family. Having a will in place is important, too, as it outlines the parameters of your childrens' inheritance in the event that you and/or the other parent should die unexpectedly.
2. You don't (yet) have an advance directive. If you become injured and unable to make medical decisions for yourself, it can greatly ease the burden on your family to know ahead of time what sorts of treatments you would or would not want to undergo. By having this information formalized, you also ensure that your wishes are recorded, so that any treatments you receive will proceed according to your wishes.
3. You're living with a partner, but are not married. If something happened to you, who would you want to manage your estate and personal care? Your family? Your partner? Someone else? If you are not married, your partner is not the legal default for this role. If you wanted them to play this role for you, you would have to designate them as an official durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney.
Estate planning issues can be challenging for anybody-- not just millennials--to address in a timely manner. But it's as important for younger people to have a plan in place as it is for anyone. If you want to start establishing peace of mind and security for yourself and your family, it's important to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney about your priorities and goals.