The statement, â€œIâ€™m too young to think about an estate plan,â€ is one I have heard much too-often. Oftentimes, it is the question posed after one of my seminars. My response: â€œestate planning is not only meant to prepare for the expected, but more importantly it is to prepare for the unexpected. The unexpected is what many young Americans fail to contemplate. Planning for the unexpected is considered not just proper planning, but smart-planning.
The reality is, no matter who we are, we are all prone to accidents and/or death. By having the mindset that â€œIâ€™m too young,â€ then we are essentially stating that â€œIâ€™m immortalâ€ and I am guaranteed to get old in this life, and when I do that is when Iâ€™ll do my estate plan. I am sure we all know someone who passed away where weâ€™ve said, â€œHe/she was so young.â€
Did you know that once your child turns eighteen (18) you lose all legal rights over the child, including having the ability to make medical decisions? Now, picture a situation where your 19-year old son gets into a tragic car accident and requires immediate medical attention. Without planning in advance, no parent, friend, sibling, or spouse would be able to make medical decisions for the son. Unless the son had a prior document in place, specifically a Health Care Power of Attorney, the parents would need to seek approval from the courts before being able to make decisions on the sonâ€™s behalf. Doesnâ€™t sound fair, right?
There are two essential life-changing situations that would require prepared planning: (1) becoming incapacitated or incompetent and (2) death. Both unfortunate events could be made less stressful on your loved ones by taking the time to plan. With respect to death, because young adults, more or less, would not carry substantial assets, a simple estate plan declaring their beneficiaries and naming power of attorneys would suffice. Most importantly it would lay the foundation of having an established estate plan that would only require tweaking in the future.
Rather than being aware of the situation and ignoring it, parents should strongly consider and encourage their adult children to create an estate plan. If not for themselves, then for the parents and/or loved one they are leaving behind. The last thing anyone wants during a time of death is having to deal with someoneâ€™s unprepared estate. Be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who could advise you further and guide you step-by-step with the process.
Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Health Care Law, Business Litigation, and Corporate Formations. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 381-2663.