Timely and tailored estate planning: not just for baby boomers

It is often posited — and, candidly, by people who don’t know much about estate planning — that young people don’t have much of a need to attend to estate administration matters. After all (the argument goes), there is certainly time for that down the road, after a family has been established, significant wealth has been accumulated and retirement is firmly in sight.

Estate-planning decisions crop up for every age demographic, though, and a silence teamed with lack of any directives regarding important personal matters can wreak havoc for both the non-planner and for his or her loved ones.

A discussion centered on young people and estate planning can logically commence with this question being posed to, say, a young professional or other Millennial considering an estate plan but being hesitant to take action: Is exercising personal control over life less important to you than to an older person simply because you are comparatively young?

A writer addressing this subject for Forbes says that, “[I]f you really want to live life on your terms, then take action today to make sure that you do that.”

Executing a will, for example, enables a younger person to attend to management matters regarding social media accounts. That can cover a lot of terrain today, given the online connections many people have. Designating a person to handle account matters — for emails, Facebook, Twitter and additional accounts — in the event of incapacitation or death can greatly help family members. A go-to person in this realm can also provide clarification on important financial-related accounts.

What happens if you become so ill that you cannot make cogent decisions regarding your health care or end-of-life determinations? A key part of estate planning is the creation of a health care directive that speaks directly to this important subject and helps to avoid the painful indecision and uncertainty that family members might otherwise face.

Estate planning also demands that due focus be placed upon beneficiary designations regarding savings accounts, retirement plans insurance policies and other financial vehicles. It also focuses thinking about the persons who a planner wishes to designate as heirs who will be legally entitled to take possession of personal effects.

As the above-cited Forbes piece notes, all these considerations are universally applicable in estate planning, regardless of a planner’s age.

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