Why Young Adults Need Estate Plans
If you are a younger adult, you may be wondering if it is worth the hassle to create a will or a broader estate plan if you have not yet acquired much wealth and you are not yet a parent. If you do have considerable assets or you already have a child, the reasons why you should create an estate plan are relatively straightforward. If you fail to create an estate plan, the guardianship of your child and the distribution of your considerable assets will be left up to the state, not up to you. Yet, it may surprise you to learn that there are also compelling reasons to create an estate plan even if you don’t own much property and you do not look after any children.
Incapacitation Due to Illness or Injury
As an experienced Knoxville, TN wills lawyer – including those who practice at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC – can discuss with you in greater detail, one of the reasons why every single adult needs an estate plan is that once you reach the age of majority, your parents no longer have de facto control over your medical, legal, and financial affairs. In order to have someone take care of these aspects of your life in the event that you are unexpectedly incapacitated by illness or injury (ie: a major car accident that leaves you in a coma), you must name them as your power of attorney.
If you have never named a power of attorney before, it is time to think about who you want handling your finances, legal affairs, and medical care in the event that you are no longer in a position to make these decisions for yourself. You can name one person as a power of attorney for all of these areas of your life or you can name multiple people as powers of attorney for various aspects of your well-being.
Additionally, you will want to draft an advance health care directive to indicate which medical treatments and procedures you are willing to submit to in the event that you can’t make medical decisions for yourself. Your medical power of attorney will only make decisions on your behalf that aren’t covered by the terms of your advanced healthcare directive.
Property Distribution and Digital Asset Management
Even if you don’t own much property, chances are that you have at least some sentimental pieces that you would like to pass along to specific individuals in the event of your death. Creating a will allows you to better ensure that your wishes are made clear and are legally enforceable.
You will additionally want to spend some time thinking about your digital footprint and how you want your online accounts and assets to be managed in the event of your incapacitation or death. Are there individuals in whom you would entrust authority to manage your accounts or do you want to leave very specific directions about who can and cannot access each account and in what ways? These are the sorts of questions you’ll want to address in the digital estate planning aspects of your estate plan.