It is not unusual for people who are in their 20s and 30s to put off estate planning. Not only is it a difficult subject that makes people uncomfortable, but many young people think they simply don't need to think about it.
However, even young people without kids, without a stable career and without a financial portfolio can benefit from basic estate planning.
Why start planning now?
You don't have to be ready to retire or welcoming your first grandchild into the world to have things worth protecting with an estate plan, as this U.S. News and World Report article notes.
For instance, young people can appoint people to make medical and legal decisions on their behalf and give someone access to digital accounts to protect virtual identity and assets.
And even if you don't have much (or any) money saved, you might have a 401(k) plan, life insurance or other benefits from your job. Assigning a beneficiary for these accounts can be crucial.
Finally, you might also want to have a plan in place if you are in a committed relationship but not married. Without an estate plan, your partner may not receive the property or services you want him or her to have.
Planning documents and tools
At a young age, you likely don't need an exhaustive plan. Having the basic documents could suffice. This includes:
- A will
- Powers of attorney
- A healthcare advance directive
These can provide a solid foundation of protection. And remember, as time goes by, you can make changes and additions to your plan, which could be easier than starting from scratch.
Consequences of putting planning off
Without these estate planning documents in place, you could leave yourself and your loved ones vulnerable to upsetting consequences. You might not get the care you want if you become incapacitated; your loved ones could take on unfortunate financial burdens, including student loan debts; romantic partners could be left without property or decision-making authority you want them to have.
With all this mind, we encourage young people across Florida to think seriously about their estate planning options. While it can be tempting to put off estate planning until you're older, doing so may do more harm than good.