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Estate Planning Considerations for Young People

By Arleen Richards
Epoch Times Contributor
Created: January 4, 2013 Last Updated: January 6, 2013
Related articles: Life » Slice of Life
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On October 15, 2012, a BASE jumper soars over the New River Gorge after jumping from the New River Bridge in West Virginia, where 831 jumpers jumped from the 876ft span into the river valley below. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

On October 15, 2012, a BASE jumper soars over the New River Gorge after jumping from the New River Bridge in West Virginia, where 831 jumpers jumped from the 876ft span into the river valley below. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Estate planning is not just for older or wealthy people, younger people need an estate plan if they have minor children or to be prepared in case of a serious injury or accidental death.

Younger people who participate in risky sports or activities like skiing, cliff diving, car racing, or even boxing should consider the possibility that they could become seriously injured and require long-term medical care. Even worse, your untimely death could result from these activities.

To prevent possible disagreements among family members about proper care and your ultimate wishes, sign a living will and a health care directive. The living will details your final wishes in the event that your life will end in a short period of time or it can detail long term care instructions if you are in a coma.

The healthcare directive designates a representative to be responsible for ensuring your instructions are followed and to make all decisions about your medical treatment and procedures.

Preparing a last will and testament is helpful in the event of your untimely death, especially if you are in a committed relationship and/or have young children. If you don’t have an estate plan, the laws in your state of residence determine how your estate will be settled, which might not conform to your wishes.

By preparing a will, you can have assets in your name transferred into your significant other’s name or placed in a trust for your children. In addition, you can decide who you want to be a guardian for your children and name someone to take on the responsibility for settling the estate.

Although you may think you don’t have enough money or property to require an estate plan, if you have young children, control of any financial inheritance will be taken over by the court-supervised guardian. In addition, if there is no surviving parent, the children become wards of the court until a judge decides who your children should live with.

If you travel for business and are frequently out of town, you will need a power of attorney to handle important matters at home, like buying or selling a house.

In case you get into an accident requiring months of recovery, a power of attorney can temporarily manage your finances and sign legal documents on your behalf.

Younger people may have a tendency to think that estate planning is only for older and wealthy people, but the fact of the matter is, none of us really knows what the future holds for us, so you can bring peace of mind to your family if you have some kind of plan in place.

Information contained in this article is not intended to be legal advice nor applicable to all situations. For legal assistance, contact an attorney in your state of residence. You can visit Arleen’s website at arleenrichards-law.info.

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