Who needs an estate plan? The answer is pretty simple. Everyone! But, not everyone needs the same documents. This series of posts will talk about life stages and why you need estate planning documents in that stage of life. Let’s talk about why young adults need documents.
This age group includes kids who just graduated from high school, college students, and those entering the workforce. They have their entire lives ahead of them, and it’s important to help plan for that life. Having a few documents in place will help protect their future. (We talked about college students here, too).
Young adults need, at minimum, to have Power of Attorney documents in place. This includes a Patient Advocate Designation, which allows someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so, and a Power of Attorney, which allows someone to make financial decisions for you if you are unable. Usually, people will respond to that statement by saying, “My parents will just do that,” or parents tell me, “I’m their parent. I will do it”. It’s not that easy.
Once a child turns 18 years old, they are now legally adults. Ultimately that means that parents can no longer be involved in any of the decision making on financial matters, with medical decisions and other legal decisions.
They don’t have any money!
Parents often proclaim “They don’t have any money!” when we talk about a Power of Attorney document for their newly minted adult. Sure, most young adults don’t have assets right now, especially those in college, but let’s talk about a scenario that, if it happened, would leave your family in the court system for years to come.
Your adult child is in a car accident, and they are now permanently disabled. They will receive money and benefits for the remainder of their life. The accident left them mentally incompetent. Who will manage these assets? Without proper documents in place, you will have to petition the court to become their guardian and conservator. When the court appoints someone as a guardian and/or conservator, annual reports and hearings are involved to maintain the status as their guardian and conservator. This will happen for the rest of their life. There will be years of court involvement.
They may not have had money, but there was certainly something there to protect.
Peace of Mind
Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designations give peace of mind. These documents are easier than you think to put in place and can help protect the future of young adults.
The purpose of estate plans is not only to plan for your death but also to plan for your life. We can help.