If you are young, healthy and unmarried, chances are one of the last things on your mind is estate planning. You might assume you have nothing to protect, or you might think that your parents will be able to make any decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
However, the fact is that every adult can benefit from having an estate plan. Consider the following questions that can demand attention if you pass away or fall ill unexpectedly:
- What happens to my personal property?
- Who makes decisions about my medical care?
- How will people access my digital accounts to retrieve important information and property?
- Will my partner or friends be put in an uncomfortable position?
These questions can require answers, no matter how old a person is.
Thus, young and single adults may want to think about an estate plan differently than their parents and grandparents. For younger adults, estate planning can be a way to take some difficult decisions off your loved ones’ plates.
Rather than focusing on the financial element, you can concentrate on assigning others to make decisions for you. These decision-makers could be your parents, your best friend, a sibling or someone else you trust.
And while you may not have children, there can still be people – and companions – to protect. You may want your partner to receive certain items if you pass away; you may have a pet that you want to be sure is taken care of; you may not want your parents to be left with difficult end-of-life choices so you can make those yourself with estate planning tools.
In terms of your property, you may not own a home or have an extensive investment portfolio, but people often still have assets and liabilities. Consider personal property and digital property, for instance. And many young people often have debts for which another person could be responsible.
Taking the first step
Though you likely do not need a comprehensive estate plan with various sophisticated legal and financial tools if you are young, unmarried and healthy, you can still benefit from having basic estate planning documents in place.
You can start with a standard will, an advance medical directive and power of attorney. Over time, your needs and wishes can change, but these essential elements can be an excellent first step.