As a Millennial, you might feel like you are too young for estate planning. But the fact is, once you turn 18, you need to have certain documents in order to protect you.
Estate planning is not just for your parents or people who have a lot money and real estate. Estate planning is for every age and every stage of life, especially in your early life. If you are a college student, early on in your career, or a young married couple, there are a few simple documents that can support you during an accident or medical emergency. The most important planning documents in this phase are a HIPAA authorization form and Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney.
A HIPAA authorization would allow access of your health status and records to be shared with a designated person on your behalf. A reason this could be important is if you become incapacitated and your status and/or records would need to be shared with a lawyer. Or perhaps to grant permission to your healthcare agent to question your doctor about a bill if you are hospitalized or incapacitated.
A Health Care Power of Attorney would allow your agent to make medical decisions for you. A Financial Power of Attorney authorization would allow someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This person could make decisions regarding your finances and property. As the pandemic continues resurge across the country, having a Power of Attorney set up in advance of a medical emergency, reassures that you will get the care you wish to preserve your life as long as you want.
If you are a young family with minors or special needs dependents, you’ll want a few documents to intentionally protect the needs of your dependents. Whether you own property or not, whatever inheritance you leave to minor beneficiaries should be held in a Will or Trust and both a guardian and a Trustee should be nominated within the documents. Individuals without property, and who have few non-dependent beneficiaries, may find that a simple Last Will and Testament meets their planning needs. But for others, the vulnerability of young beneficiaries, as well as the duration of Probate, may lead you towards choosing a Revocable Living Trust as your primary planning tool.
Living Trusts ensure property passes to the minor beneficiary in a way that provides for the ongoing care for the minor, while also releasing the full amount to the child as designated. They also maintain privacy, as the inheritance passes outside of the public Probate process, directly to the beneficiary. If you have no children, you may just be concerned with passing on assets to beneficiaries with the least amount of trouble. In this case, a Trust is still your most operable plan, and can easily be developed with an experienced attorney.
The only plan that doesn’t work is having no plan at all. This opens you or your next of kin to the public Probate process upon your passing. And it guarantees that the state of South Carolina will decide what’s best versus your own personal wishes. Justin Halverson, Co-Founder of Great Waters Financial explains, “Doing something is better than doing nothing. Don’t let the fact that you don’t know the perfect way … make you do nothing at all.”
There is an easier way to plan and that’s with the help of an estate planning attorney. At Wiles, we can help you pass your assets safely to your beneficiaries, by putting together appropriate strategies and legal documents. From simple documents to complex protection strategies, these important tools can ensure that what you own ends up in the right hands, at the right time, and with as little cost and delay as possible. If you are curious what plan might work best for you, please contact us today. We would love to hear more of your story to find the best plan that fits your needs.