Estate Planning is Not Just for Your Parents or Grandparents
Often, we think estate planning is just for those who are elderly. While the elderly certainly need to have their affairs in order, estate planning is for anyone who cares what happens to them, their things, or their family.
For someone who is young and healthy, estate planning may be the furthest thing from your mind. You may be thinking about your next family vacation, enjoying fall football, or planning for the holidays. How could you need estate planning when you have such an busy lifestyle? Accidents happen, even to the young and active. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, accidents are the leading cause of death of young adults.
If you die without an estate plan, each state has one for you, which is known as intestate succession. If you are unmarried, depending on the state, intestacy laws would typically result in everything going to your parents and/or siblings. Unless you have a Will or Trust, you have no say over which member of your family gets your assets or has control. Also, your family members that you wanted to inherit your estate will not be able to receive it just because you always said it would go to them. Your wishes must be in writing with the appropriate legal formalities.
Also, it may be unlikely that you pass young, as most accidents are not fatal. But you could be in medical need due to an accident or illness. For example, consider the case of Terri Schiavo, who collapsed at home at age 26. A battle between her loved ones ensued over her care, and her matter is often referenced as one of the landmark cases of why to have solid planning in place. In your estate plan, you can detail who you want to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make them for yourself. Similarly, you can voice your opinion about end-of-life decisions.
Another part of an estate plan is a financial power of attorney, which allows someone to make financial decisions for your assets while you are alive. You could give that power to someone so they could act immediately or the power to act only upon your incapacity. Appointing a trusted family member or friend to act in your stead is essential for items that involve paying your bills, managing your accounts, and handling your affairs.
As the saying goes, age is just a number and you can determine to take control at any point. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can assist with all assets of your estate plan and you can choose whomever you want to make decisions for you and to receive assets upon your death. Whatever you decide, you will have peace of mind knowing you have planned ahead for any eventuality.