4 Reasons Why Young Professionals Need An Estate PlanSabrina Winters
March 6, 2012 — 1,012 views
Youth is often used as an excuse for putting off doing a will or trust. The thing is, that estate planning is not just about planning for your death; it also includes planning for yourself personally in the event you experience an incapacitating injury and are unable to make your own financial or medical decisions. While the odds are certainly in your favor that you will not need an estate plan (we are all invincible when we are young!), you should still consider these four scenarios…
1.You need a plan in the event that you become disabled or incapacitated.
Unfortunately tragedies happen every day, many of which are out of our control. And you are not immune to them because you are young. Just turning on the local news will be evidence of that. If something happens to you and you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your own financial, legal, and medical affairs you will need to make sure that there are basic documents in place (such as a medical directive, power of attorney and HIPAA authorization) so someone can make life decisions for you. For example, if you don’t decide who you want to be making medical decisions for you, the unfortunate part is that someone you may never have chosen may ultimately be the one making a potential life and death decisions for you.
2. You need to pass your assets.
You might be asking, “What assets?” Even if you do not yet own your own home, you may have IRAs, retirement accounts and life insurance policies, which are offered through your
employer that you should consider. You need to make sure that beneficiaries are named in the right way so that the people you want to leave them to get the maximum benefit.
3. You need to name guardians for your children.
If you have children, you simply must name guardians. You should be the one who decides who will raise them if you are no longer around. You do not want this decision left to squabbling relatives or to a court system that doesn’t know you, your child or your family dynamic. You might be thinking that everyone in your family loves your children, that there will not be any problems. If they all love your children, they will all probably want to raise them, right? If they all want the same thing, this will have the potential of becoming a battle…do you want your children to be put through that after having lost their parents?
One of the most common reasons I hear from my clients as to why they have resisted an estate plan is because they could not decide who to allow to raise their children. If this is you, read next weeks’ article on what I personally think are issues to consider before making this hugely important decision. Sometimes it is only a matter of talking it out with a professional to help you decide. I can tell you this that each and every client of mine with minor children has a complete estate plan that names a guardian of their choice…even the ones that were conflicted before visiting with me!
4. You need to plan for your pets.
If you have a pet, chances are they are a big part of your life. They are totally devoted to you and also totally dependent on you. Have you stopped to think what might happen to them if something were to happen to you? If you want to make sure your companion is cared for if the unexpected happens, you could choose to put together a plan for their continued care. The plan may include directions about feeding, medical care and other needs along with funds necessary to provide for your pet’s support and to compensate the caretaker.
The scenarios above are just a few to consider when educating yourself on the importance of having a will or trust. Until you have a properly written plan in place you can never really have the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are fully protected.
Sabrina Winters, Attorney at Law, PLLC
Sabrina has been assisting families, business owners and physicians with all areas of Estate Planning (Wills, Revocable Living Trusts and Tax Planning), as well as Probate matters for 13 years.