For many, estate planning can often be placed into a box that belongs solely to individuals who are either of an advanced age or have significant assets. In reality, however, the practical aspect of having an estate plan in place is a benefit for any individual who is willing to pursue it. Whether a loved one is, or you yourself are, a young professional, there are certain decisions that can be made to protect your future.
Having an executed will is the best way to avoid intestate succession – when someone dies without a will, a court will distribute property according to state law, which may not match the wishes of the deceased. Having a say in the future of your possessions and interests can be incredibly empowering, particularly for a young individual. There is no way to gauge exactly where a person’s path will lead, but having a few provisions in place can help family members in deciphering your individual wishes. Even if a young professional’s assets are not particularly substantial, in terms of any real estate or bank accounts, having a set designation as to who is authorized to control these assets remains an important facet of estate planning.
In regard to ownership, it is vital to discuss the potential repercussions in the event of an emergency as to who will be able to access any joint accounts or jointly owned real property. Whether it is a parent, grandparent, or trusted advisor, every young professional has the right to decide how their personal assets are controlled. Depending on the skills and circumstances of each individual, it could potentially benefit a young professional to require a trusted family member to sign off on any jointly owned assets. It may even be the case that there are already trustees in place to help manage distributions if you are a currently designated beneficiary of a trust.
Regardless of your physical fitness, creating incapacity documents are a necessary step to take as a responsible adult. Having to draft a document that basically assumes the worst-case scenario is tough for any individual at almost any age. However, in order to have certain personal wishes made known, you have to be willing to take some time to ascertain what those wishes truly are. While there may be little to his or her name at this stage of life, a young professional’s plan for incapacity can be most helpful in the event of an unexpected crisis.
Even at this uncertain stage of life, a young professional, will almost certainly have possessions and interests that they hold to be valuable. The important thing to remember is that it cannot really hurt you to have an estate plan, or at the very least, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you to get the process started. By becoming familiar with asset protection strategies and executing incapacity documents, you or the young professional in your life may be able to progress into adulthood with one less burden.