Estate planning is the tool that allows individuals to control how their assets and lives will be managed in case of their incapacitation or death. One common misconception is that estate planning is solely for the wealthy. On the contrary, estate planning is for everyone! No matter what stage of life you are in, every adult should have a proper plan for managing their affairs in death or incapacitation. Proper estate planning gives you the power to take control over what happens to you and your assets when you can no longer care for yourself. Therefore, it is important to start your estate plan as early as possible, reviewing your plan every three to five years for any possible changes. This article will focus on important documents for young adults to consider when setting up their estate plans.
- Last Will and Testament: A Last Will and Testament, most commonly referred to as a Will, is a tool used to give away personal property (a “bequest”) or give away real property (a “devise”). A simple will can be a useful tool for a young adult with a small estate. One benefit of having a will is that it allows you to choose who the executor of your estate will be. An executor is the person that ensures your wishes are carried out as directed by your will. By naming this person in your will, you can appoint someone you trust to honor and fulfil your final wishes. Another benefit to a will is that you can include directions of important decisions such as final resting place arrangements. By outlining important personal decisions in your will, it gives you the power to control arrangements that matter most to you.
- Advance Medical Directive: An Advance Medical Directive, also known as a “living will”, is used to direct Health Law decisions should you become incapacitated. An Advance Medical Directive can be used to express your decisions on issues ranging from the administration of pain relief medication to decisions about lifesaving care. Having an advance medical directive is important, even as a young adult, to capture your medical wishes.
Not only is it important to set up the documents above, but it is also important to update them regularly as life changes. Buying a house, getting married, and having children are just a few examples of reasons you may need to update your estate planning documents. Having a set time to review your documents (such as every other birthday or every even year) can be a great way to ensure you are keeping your documents up to date.
There are several factors that go into proper estate planning. The next article will focus on helpful considerations for married couples and parents. If you need to create an estate plan, or need your estate documents updated, our attorneys would be happy to assist you. Please contact the attorneys at Vandeventer Black for more information on proper estate planning.