When it comes to estate planning, a lot of people just think of the elderly trying to prepare for what could be an imminent death. While it is true that a large amount of people put off their estate planning efforts for later in life, it is important to think about putting together and maintaining an estate plan throughout your adult life. Because estate planning deals with much more than just what happens to your assets after you pass away, it is important to think about meeting with an estate planning attorney even as a young adult to ensure not only that your affairs are in order in the unfortunate event of your passing, but also so that needs during your life will be taken care of as you see fit. This article will highlight the benefits of having your estate planning prepared as a young adult.
Just as mentioned above – estate planning is not only for the elderly and certainly not only for people with a large amount of assets. Having an estate planning attorney craft a Last Will and Testament or a Trust-centered estate plan while you are an adult can carry several benefits. Not only would your wishes be documented in the unfortunate event that you were to pass away, but estate planning can come with serious asset protection benefits. For instance, through the use of irrevocable trusts, you can effectively shield your assets from creditors. Of course, such tactics involve careful drafting and the meeting of certain legal requirements before asset protection may be achieved, but your estate planning attorney can guide you through the necessary steps to accomplish your goals.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that allows someone else to have control and access to important aspects of your life, such as your financials. Generally, people tend to include a durable power of attorney in their estate plans for the unfortunate circumstance that they become incapacitated. With a durable power of attorney in place, an incapacitated person will have someone with authority to manage their day-to-day affairs. Such documents could be invaluable to a young adult for the same reason. However, it is key to envision other aspects in which a young adult having a power of attorney in place could be useful.
For instance, many young adults leave home for college straight out of high school. There is no telling what you may need assistance with from any third party, such as your parent, when you are out on your own. In fact, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), if for any reason you need a third party to have access to your information with your university, for instance, without a power of attorney in place your school will not have the authority to release any information to that third party.
Furthermore, a power of attorney can be limited in scope, if you so choose. For instance, if you had a particular transaction you wanted a third party to handle on your behalf – with a power of attorney, you could specifically limit the scope of the power you are granting this third party to the particular task at hand. What’s even better is that a power of attorney in the State of Florida may be revoked at any time. You never know where you will be in life and whether you will ever need someone to step in your shoes, so it is useful to plan ahead just in case.
Through proper estate planning measures, you will be able to ensure that there will always be someone who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you are ever unable to do so for yourself. For instance, with a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate in place, should you ever become incapacitated you will have someone with the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
Furthermore, it is important to note that under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your medical providers are prohibited from disclosing your medical information to third parties without your authorization. With the proper ancillary documents in place, you can ensure that your specifically designated person will have the authority to receive information on your healthcare needs. This becomes important with college students leaving home for school. In the event you need, for example, your parents to gather your healthcare information on your behalf, with the proper documentation in place, you can make sure that such a process can be as smooth as possible.
Declaration of Guardian for Minors
For young parents, estate planning could be an especially important thing to undertake. Because we can never predict if or when something tragic can befall us, we have the opportunity to plan ahead the best we can using different estate planning techniques. For instance, through the use of a Declaration of Guardian for Minor, you can ensure that in the event that something were to happen to you, that you have named who you would like to care for your minor children. There are other measures that young parents can take to safeguard assets for their children’s futures, and it would be worthwhile to meet with an estate planning attorney to help craft an estate plan to accomplish such a goal.
As you can see, you are not confined to doing your estate planning when you are elderly. In fact, there are many benefits to completing an estate plan as a young adult. It may benefit you to sit down with an estate planning attorney to best highlight which estate planning techniques would best fit your situation. Also, after your estate plan is in place, be sure to periodically update your plan as time passes and you have significant changes in life. Your estate planning should evolve as you do in life, and it only makes sense to get started with your plan as soon as possible. If you have any questions or need assistance setting up your estate plan, we encourage you to give The Probate Law Firm a call at 305-456-3255.