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You're Not Too Young for Estate Planning: Why Young Adults Need a Plan

Estate planning often gets associated with the elderly, but it's a critical step for young adults to take as well. Here's why:

·       Life is Unpredictable: Despite being young and healthy, the future remains uncertain. Establishing an estate plan ensures that your desires are known in case of unexpected events. A car accident, unexpected illness – these things happen, even to young, healthy individuals. 

·       More Than Just a Will: Estate planning goes beyond simply distributing possessions. It involves nominating someone to make medical decisions on your behalf (think healthcare directive) and selecting a trusted individual to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated (power of attorney).

·       Peace of Mind for You and Your Loved Ones: Having an estate plan in place alleviates the burden on you and provides clarity for your family during challenging times.

Among the above-mentioned reasons, one of the number one motives for young people to obtain an estate plan is to properly plan for the care of your children if something were to happen. If both parents pass away and the parents did not have a will that nominates guardians, the court will appoint a guardian of the children. The court's decision on guardianship might not align with the parents' wishes. Furthermore, children can be placed in foster care while the court decides who the best fit for guardian is. A will allows parents to choose a specific guardian they trust to raise their children.

What Should Be Included in Your Young Adult Estate Plan?

·       Last Will and Testament: This is the foundation, outlining who inherits your belongings after you die.  While young adults might not have vast estates, it's crucial to have a plan in place, especially if you have specific items you want passed down to loved ones.

·       Financial Power of Attorney: Life can take unexpected turns.  A power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted person to handle your finances and legal matters if you're unable to do so yourself due to illness, injury, or incapacity.  There are different types of power of attorney, so discuss your options with an attorney or financial advisor to choose the one that best suits your needs.

·       Healthcare Power of Attorney: This document specifies your wishes for medical care in case you're unable to make decisions for yourself.  It allows you to appoint a healthcare proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf based on your preferences.

Estate planning isn't about dwelling on the morbid; it's about being prepared. By taking these steps now, you can ensure that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are cared for, regardless of life's uncertainties. Washington residents may call Three Rivers Law Center today so we can help you make a plan that is best for you!

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