So, should you have an estate plan at this stage of life?
Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Yes.
As my grandfather used to say: the old must die and the young must die.
If you have a present pulse, then you need an estate plan for when it stops.
This includes you, even if you are a millennial (also known as "Generation Y" born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s).
This timely topic was take up in a recent article in the St. Louis Dispatch, titled “Why Everyone Needs a Will (I'm Talking to You, Millennials).”
Here are a few of the key actions recommended in that article:
Designate Your Beneficiaries.
You can list your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts (401(k) 403(b), IRA etc.) when you complete the application.
While you are at it, be sure to designate your beneficiaries on bank and investment accounts by setting up a TOD (Transfer on Death) designations.
Second, probate is avoided if your beneficiaries have legal capacity, let alone are alive, at your passing.
Accordingly, beneficiary designations supersede any instructions you make in your last will and testament.
As you can see, it is very important to make sure your beneficiary designations are consistent with your other estate planning arrangements.
Draft your will.
Well, after just telling you how to avoid using a will and thereby skirting probate, you really should create (and sign) your will.
After all a will is more than a legal document - it is the final written statement of your intentions, to include where you want your earthly possessions to go and how you want them to get there.
Note to self: this is not a DIY project. There are a lot of things you can do, even on the internet.
This is not one of them.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in your state, because each state has different laws.
State Your Health Care Wishes.
Use an Advance Health Care Directive to make your health care wishes known now for a potential time when you cannot make them later. Oh, be sure to appoint your health care decision-makers to carry out those wishes when relevant.
Sign a Durable Power of Attorney.
This fundamental legal instrument enables someone you trust to make financial decisions in the event you are unable to do so.
As the article notes, you have options regarding the amount of authority you give and when it is given.
By establishing a relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney now, you will have a valuable personal and legal advisor through the coming years who is required to maintain your confidences and secrets.
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: St. Louis Dispatch (September 11, 2015) “Why Everyone Needs a Will (I'm Talking to You, Millennials)”