A basic estate plan is essential at any age.
When you are young, you think you are immortal. A family and kids seem way off in the future—and death an eternity away.
It is not.
Unfortunately, not everyone dies at a ripe old age, surrounded by friends and family.
In fact, the leading causes of death for millennials are accidents or unintended injuries.
As my grandfather would say, "The old must die and the young may die."
As the children of an estate planning attorney, my millennial daughters are accustomed to discussing death.
In fact, the popular song “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry became our household theme song for years.
But, unlike those catchy lyrics, basic estate planning for millennials should include more than a mere statement of your burial wishes.
In fact, a recent article in Forbes, titled "Here's How To Financially Prepare For Your Death While You're Still Young And Unmarried," outlines four steps you need to take to protect those you leave behind.
Why would you want to avoid probate?
Although probate can be very useful and is a proven approach to ensure the orderly administration and disposition of your estate, you may want to keep your assets out of these proceedings depending on your unique circumstances.
For example, if you own real estate in more than one state, then you probate will be required upon your death unless you have made legal arrangements to avoid it.
If you neglect to make a will or name beneficiaries on your accounts, the distribution of your estate through probate will result in unnecessary fees.
Check your account beneficiaries.
If you have any accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, or life insurance policies, be sure to name beneficiaries. Some accounts will include Payable on Death (PoD) or Transfer on Death (ToD) designations.
Do not stop there.
Contact the respective beneficiaries you have designated for such assets and let them know they are your beneficiaries and where to locate account information after you are gone.
If you die soon, these assets will be ready. If you live longer, review and edit your beneficiaries (e.g., if you marry, have a child or divorce).
Get a will.
In your will, you can detail your wishes.
What should you include?
Outline asset distribution, name guardians for minor children, and even define care for any pets.
Consider securing life insurance.
When would life insurance be a good idea?
If a parent or sibling co-signed on a loan for school, a car or a home, purchasing life insurance would be useful.
By naming the co-signers as the beneficiaries, you will not leave them with the burden of your loan debt.
Although making these preparation and discussing death while in your 20s or 30s may seem odd, it is necessary.
Whether you are single or have a family, you cannot predict the future.
Make plans to protect and plan for your loved ones now.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Forbes (May 31, 2016) "Here's How To Financially Prepare For Your Death While You're Still Young And Unmarried"