If you ask most millennials about their planning, you’ll likely get an answer about their career, family or perhaps even a business they want to start. Millennials, generally defined as those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are so young that their focus is on immediate goals and challenges.
If you’re a millennial and you haven’t planned for retirement or other long-term goals, you still have time to do so. However, there’s one type of planning that you may not want to put off for the future. It’s estate planning, which involves a strategy for your assets and loved ones in the event of your death.
Granted, death may be a highly unlikely scenario at your age. Also, it’s not exactly pleasant to think about one’s own death. However, the issue is too important to ignore. That’s especially true if you have children or other dependents. Many people think estate planning is only for the wealthy or those nearing retirement. The truth is that it’s an important process for most adults. Below are a few ways in which you and your family could benefit from a simple estate plan.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of any estate plan is that it allows you to designate who will care for your children after you pass away. This is done via a will. If you die without a will, the local probate court will make all decisions on your behalf, including who will care for your children. The court may select someone you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.
You also may have life insurance that would go to your children upon your death. Many insurers won’t pay a death benefit to a child. Instead, the benefit may go to a court-appointed guardian, whose wishes may not align with your own. Instead, you could set up a trust on behalf of your children and make the insurance payable to the trust. That way, the money would be used the way you want.
Financial and Health Care Decisions
Estate planning isn’t just for what happens after you pass away. It also helps you plan for periods in which you may be disabled or physically unable to manage your own affairs. For instance, you could be involved in a dangerous accident or possibly be diagnosed with a severe illness like cancer. While these types of events aren’t likely, they do happen.
You can use estate planning documents such as a power of attorney or living will to guide decisions on your behalf if you’re ever incapable of making them yourself. These tools could be especially helpful if you’re single or if you have a partner but aren’t married. For instance, your power of attorney can designate a specific individual to make all your financial and health care decisions.
If you’re like many millennials, you have some kind of digital footprint. Maybe you’re active on social media. You almost certainly have email. Maybe you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur and do much of your work online.
If you pass away, your family may need to access your accounts. You can create documents that provide them with specific instructions on who should access which accounts and what login information to use. This could help your family gather needed information and ease the process of settling your estate.
Ready to create your estate plan? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at J. Harris Financial. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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