Why adults of all ages need to draft an estate plan
Wealthy American adults generally do not shy away from estate planning because they want to make sure that control of their assets rests with them – not the government – after they pass away.
Yet, many younger and less affluent adults postpone estate planning over and over again because they think they have no need for it. In truth, adults of all ages need to have current estate planning documents in place at all times.
A will is only one tool in the estate planning toolbox
All too often, younger adults and low-wage earners put off the task of estate planning because they do not believe that they own assets that are valuable enough to warrant mentioning in a will. While it remains generally important to create a will to address sentimental property – and to leave instructions for loved ones concerning burial preferences, naming a potential guardian for minor children, etc. – a will is only one of the documents that make up a basic estate plan.
What many adults do not realize is that there are two additional legal resources that no estate plan should be without. Naming at least one power of attorney will ensure that someone trustworthy is placed in charge of an individual’s medical care (and their finances, business, etc. if the estate plan creator wishes) in the event that they are incapacitated due to injury or illness.
Additionally, filling out a living will allows each adult to specify the kinds of medical treatment that they do and do not approve of on their own behalf in the event of incapacitation.
Being proactive when moving forward
If more adults had a solid understanding of the numerous functions of an estate plan, it is safe to say that more adults would invest their time and energy into creating one. If you already have an estate plan in place, just make sure to keep it current so that it remains relevant and enforceable. If you haven’t yet begun planning, there is no time like the present to protect your interests and the interests of those whom you care about.