Young adults in their 20s and 30s in New York often don’t think about estate planning. Their main concerns after graduating from college usually involve paying their student loans and accumulating enough money for a mortgage or a decent apartment. As young adults start passing milestones, including getting married, having children and even accumulating a small amount of wealth, the importance of estate planning becomes clearer. Estate planning goes beyond what you leave to your children or other survivors; it involves having legal documents that can protect you and your assets no matter your age.
Wills are the foundation of estate planning. This document is particularly important if you have minor children as you can appoint a guardian to take care of them in the event of an untimely death.
A revocable trust is a document that begins to take on more importance as you accumulate wealth. It provides information on how you want your assets handled after you die. At the same time, it can also help you manage your assets during your lifetime.
A durable power of attorney is something you may want to consider immediately as it allows you to name someone to act in your interests if you become incapacitated or spend a considerable length of time living overseas. Similarly, a living will or health care proxy specifies medical treatment should you be unable to make decisions on your own. A health care proxy allows another person to make those decisions for you while a living will spells out your wishes.
If you’re like most young adults, you may not know where to start when it comes to estate planning. The important thing to remember is that even if you only have minimal assets, it’s wise to begin planning now as documents can always be reviewed and altered as your circumstances change.