You’re in your twenties or thirties. You are chugging along in life with a decent job, no known significant health issues and few assets. You joke with friends that most of your humble belongings would fit in a backpack.
So having an estate plan is the absolute last thing on your mind. Why bother with it, you may ask. It may startle you, but even someone with your circumstances should have an estate plan in place – the sooner, the better.
Something you never expected could happen
There are sound reasons why you need an estate plan. According to one financial expert, “…[E]state planning is important regardless of your age or wealth….”
You may feel you have your life satisfactorily mapped out for years in advance. However, fate has a way of intruding without warning.
- You could have a catastrophic motor vehicle accident that leaves you unable to communicate, or you could develop a serious medical condition that leaves you mentally or physically impacted with no or limited ability to communicate your wishes.
- A will eliminates any confusion your loved ones could have about your intentions. If you die with no will, the court usually steps in and makes the decisions that you did not, a solution that is often imperfect.
- You may have precious mementos – even that backpack you lug everywhere – that you want to go to specific people. Without a will, that may never happen.
A proper estate plan can help you be prepared for any of these possibilities and make things easier for your loved ones.
Estate plan basics to consider
You might want to think about having a will, a durable power of attorney and a living will drawn up. An experienced professional can explain the purpose of each one and help you decide precisely what you need.