Estate Planning for Young Adults
Aug. 30, 2022
Why do so many people in Texas delay planning their estates? This procrastination fortifies the misconception that estate planning is an activity for the elderly, wealthy, and terminally ill. In fact, estate planning is best done early in adulthood and updated throughout your lifetime. Despite the tendency for young people to feel invincible, adults should begin creating their estate plans when they are young. Age, assets, and health status at the time matter less than the ability to make your own decisions.
As an estate planning attorney at Russell Manning Attorney at Law, I help the young and the old create tailored estate plans in Corpus Christi, South Texas, and The Coastal Bend area. I also assist individuals and families in Aransas, Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, and Victoria counties. It is never too early to begin planning for the inevitable.
At What Age Should You Think About Estate Planning?
Age 18 is the age of majority in Texas. You are an adult at that age, and unless you have a conservator, you are independent of your parents. In fact, they can no longer make decisions for you in the eyes of the law. This means there are some critical estate planning documents you should execute at age 18.
Your parents may be making your car payments, paying for college, and carrying you on their health insurance, but they still cannot make decisions for you. If you become incapacitated or die, the court will decide who makes decisions for you and your estate. Although your parents are the likely choice for the judge to make, the process takes time and money. Not having an estate plan would add stress to an already stressful situation.
If you are currently age 18 or older, you should certainly create the key documents of an estate plan.
Why Should a Young Adult Have an Estate Plan?
There are solid reasons why young adults should have an estate plan, and they are often the same reason as older adults. Tools used in estate planning allow you, not the court, to make decisions when you are unable to make them.
As a young adult, you begin to seek employment, start saving for retirement, accumulate assets, marry, have children, or launch a business. You begin to be responsible for other people in your life. You can determine what happens to your loved ones, your assets, and your debts if you become incapacitated or die in your estate plan.
Some of the most important decisions you can make as an adult will be made through an estate plan.
What Are the Important Elements of a Young Adult’s Estate Plan?
What should a young adult’s estate plan include? It will vary based on the individual. However, three key elements for most young adult estate plans are a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a general durable power of attorney, and a will.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare lets you name a person you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. If you are in a car accident and are unconscious, your healthcare providers would be able to share information with your proxy and your proxy would be authorized to make decisions about your treatment and care.
In a general durable power of attorney, you name an attorney-in-fact to handle your financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to. Your attorney-in-fact (who does not necessarily need to be an attorney) would have access to your bank and other accounts, be able to pay your bills, and manage your investments if you became incapacitated.
You should have at least a simple will to advise how you want your assets distributed when you die. You will name the personal representative of your estate and can name a guardian for your minor child in a will. The will is subject to probate after you die, but at least you have made your own decisions. If you die without a will, referred to as dying “intestate,” the court makes those choices instead.
Depending on your assets, you may want a revocable living trust in lieu of or in addition to your will. You will transfer ownership of certain assets from you to the trust and manage them for the benefit of those you name as beneficiaries of the trust. The trust could also take care of you should you become incapacitated. The person you name as successor trustee will administer the trust in your stead. Because it is a revocable living trust, you can make changes to it over time, such as adding or eliminating beneficiaries or putting assets in the trust or removing them as you wish.
How Russell Manning Attorney at Law Can Help
You never know when you will be unable to make decisions for yourself. Make your own decisions while you can, using the tools that will speak for you throughout your lifetime and after you’re gone.
At Russell Manning Attorney at Law, I am dedicated to helping young adults throughout Texas, including Corpus Christi, South Texas, and The Coastal Bend area, plan for tomorrow. Call now to schedule a time to begin the process.