Estate Planning For Millennials: What Younger Adults Should Know About Planning For The Future
Estate planning seems like a far-off concept for those in their 20s and 30s, still trying to build their lives and careers. Creating a will, distributing assets, and planning for guardianships seem like responsibilities for senior citizens, not those with TikTok accounts. Most people under 40 may not feel they have enough property or assets to bother with a will, or they can worry about these issues after turning 60.
While most people within the “millennial” age group (born between 1981 and 1996) or “Gen Z” (born in 1997 or later) understand the importance of having a will, only about 20% of millennials have a will established. The trend is on the upswing for younger adults, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic caused a reckoning with our collective sense of mortality.
It makes sense for adults under 40 or even 30 to consider estate plans. This is especially true if they have children or any type of property or assets. Meanwhile, many millennials would be surprised to learn just how many assets they own when they put things together with an estate planning attorney.
For young adults, there are several important estate planning factors to consider:
- Living Wills, or “Advance Directives.”
These are instructions given by a person in which desires are expressed concerning their health care or health information goals. These can include the designation of health care power of attorney, living wills, organ donation, “do not resuscitate” orders, and other issues that arise when a person becomes incapacitated. In short, advance directives in Florida address what happens when you are hospitalized and can’t speak for yourself. Sadly, you don’t have to be an older person to find yourself in these situations. Car accidents, sudden illnesses, or traumatic injuries can put even young and healthy people in situations where a living will is used to determine their medical goals.
- Health Care Power of Attorney
The appointment of Health Care Power of Attorney is closely related to Health Care Advance Directives. A health care power of attorney in Florida is chosen to make health care decisions for a principal, speak to physicians on behalf of the principal, and receive health information on about the principal. This could be a spouse, relative, or other trusted person. Making this designation clear can help meet your goals in the event you are receiving hospital treatment but unable to speak on your behalf.
- Provisions for Unmarried Couples
If you are in a dating relationship but not married, your significant other is usually entitled to nothing if you die without a will. Any property owned by the decedent would fall under Florida’s intestate succession laws, which prioritize legal spouses and bloodline heirs. Unless your partner’s name is already on the title of a property or vehicle deed, for example, they are not legally entitled to inherit the property once you are gone. That is unless a will is explicitly designating that property to them. For unmarried couples, it is critical to think about these issues. An untimely tragedy can be made worse if a person loses their partner and their shared property goes to another person.
- Distribution of Assets (Including Digital Assets)
Most people in their 20s and 30s are still trying to build their careers and acquire assets like cars and homes. They might not think they have any “assets” to leave behind if they’re gone. That is usually not the case, however. Checking and savings accounts, 401k plans through an employer, and other financial resources can sit in limbo if a person passes without leaving any kind of plan behind to say where those assets go. A person must also consider their “digital assets, “ an increasingly important part of estate plans. Digital assets can include information stored online or on computer drives, rights to specific pieces of music or literature, and social media accounts (especially those monetized as an income stream). Chances are, if you sit down to list anything that could be considered an asset, you will be surprised at how long and detailed the list becomes.
- Establishing Plans for Children
If you have any children, you need to think about an estate plan if you are somehow no longer there to provide for them. No matter how young and healthy a parent is, tragedy can strike and worsen if a child is left behind with no plan to care for them. Establishing contingencies through a will – for example, designating a trusted family member as a guardian – can help ease the process under this nightmare scenario. Any parent, young or old, should also consider establishing trusts and other critical financial resources for their children.
It is Never Too Early to Plan For the Future with an Experienced Tampa Estate Planning Attorney
It can be uncomfortable and even frightening to plan for tragic circumstances. However, the only thing worse than an untimely passing would be having that happen with nothing in place to protect your loved ones and any assets you own. No matter what your age is, our Tampa estate planning attorneys understand the concerns you may have and will review all of your goals carefully with you – including the estate planning tools that may work best for your situation. Call our attorneys today at 813-286-1700 or schedule a consultation online to get started.