It will probably come as no surprise to learn that millennials are the least likely generation to create an estate plan. As a society, we associate estate planning with older, retired people who are mostly interested in dividing their assets among their heirs. Since millennials are the youngest, the least likely to have accumulated any wealth, and often do not yet have children, it is understandable that they do not think they have to create an estate plan.
However, passing down assets is just one aspect of estate planning. There are many other critical issues that estate plans address that would benefit millennials. In fact, millennials often need estate planning more than their older counter-parts.
For instance, research shows that millennials are more likely to be part of family structures that are different than those which were common in the past. Inheritance and other laws often do not take into account these modern issues.
For example there was a recent story in the news where a young man had been living with his long-term girlfriend in a home his mother left to him. When he passed away, the young man’s estranged father, whom he hadn’t seen or been in contact with for years, inherited that home from his son, and his girlfriend was evicted. . Millennials are getting married much later in life than older generations and in a lot of cases, they choose never to marry their girlfriend or boyfriend. In this case, it is critical to get an estate plan in place to make sure that the person who you love is treated fairly regarding the assets you share if something happens.
The other big reason that millennials need an estate plan is that they need to identify the person who can speak for them if they are unable. A good estate plan will include a healthcare directive and power of attorney, which will allow you to select who you’d like to communicate with doctors or financial institutions on your behalf. Don’t assume that your girlfriend or boyfriend can speak for you. If something happens, because of privacy laws, she or he will likely be unable to handle your affairs without going to court.
Don’t believe the myth that estate planning is only for the rich and the old — Estate planning is important for all income levels and ages. If you would like to make sure that you have the proper legal documents in place, call our Fairfax estate planning law firm at (571) 328-5795 to set up an appointment.