When you’re young, it’s easy to think of your life is like the ocean— stretching out in front of you as far as your eyes can see. You know it ends somewhere, but that end point seems so far away as to be irrelevant to your life now. That perspective is the reason why so many young people put off estate planning until they are older— or in some cases, until it’s too late. Here are some quick, easy tips to help you start moving forward with this important part of your life.
Tip 1: Plan Before You Think You Need It.
You may not have much right now— no house, no real estate, no stocks and bonds. Maybe you are still single, without kids. You may think that you don’t need a will or an estate plan, since you don’t have much personal property to pass on yet. However, an estate plan isn’t just about wealth or guardianship for children; it’s about providing for your own funeral costs, naming someone to handle your financial affairs (paying bills, etc.) when you are not able to do so, and arranging for the distribution of your possessions among people you love. Should you die suddenly, your will saves your family a lot of confusion and distress.
Tip 2: Think About Medical Emergencies.
Suppose you are in an automobile accident and suffer severe injuries so that you cannot walk or talk. You need to have a living will in which you express your wishes regarding life support and name someone you trust as your personal representative, to make vital medical decisions for you.
Tip 3: Identify a Guardian.
If you have minor children, you need to make a plan for their welfare in case you die unexpectedly. Otherwise, your children could be placed in foster care while the court decides which family members should care for them. If you’re married and you want your spouse to be the guardian, specify that in your will. If you and your spouse both pass away, or if you’re a single parent without another involved adult in the picture, you’ll need a plan in place for that scenario as well.
Tip 4: Consider Term Life Insurance.
Since you’re young, you can obtain term-life insurance very cheaply. Your family can use this money to take care of medical bills, credit card bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. Take advantage of term life insurance offered through your workplace or sold online from various providers.
Tip 5: Get a Lawyer.
You may feel that you don’t need a lawyer’s assistance, since your affairs are not very complicated. However, even if you use an online template for your will, you may not be thinking of every possibility. You may overlook items and leave loopholes that will force your family through additional court proceedings and hassle. Obtaining the help of a good estate planning lawyer is not as expensive as you may think, and it’s well worth the time and money to ensure that your loved ones and your possessions are cared for exactly as you planned. Call an estate planning attorney near you today and set up an appointment so that you can create an airtight estate plan.