After graduating from college, and even law school, the thought of drafting your estate plan probably did not make the top twenty on your "to-do" list, and why should it? The only thing most young professionals have when they first start out is debt. However, after you land your first job, preparing your estate plan needs to move quickly to the top of that elusive "to do" list.
By Stephen K Lehnardt
Regardless of your age and wealth (you might not think you have very much), you probably want to have a say in who gets what.Young people generally don’t view estate planning as a necessity when just starting their careers, but the reality is they should plan how their assets will be distributed in case something were to happen to them.
Estate planning is more than just deciding how your assets will be distributed. That is a large part of it, but there are other documents every good estate plan should include. A recent article in the National Law Review, titled “Five Estate Planning Documents Every Young Professional Should Have,” lists the documents that every recent college graduate will want to include as part of his or her estate plan:
- General Durable Power of Attorney – This is a simple document that lets you choose who will handle your finances in case you are in an accident or get ill and cannot do it yourself.
- Health Care Power of Attorney – This document allows you to choose who will make medical decisions for you, if you are incapacitated and cannot make them for yourself.
- Will – Your will does not have to be complicated. However, if you want your property or any piece of it to go to someone in particular, then you need a will to make that happen.
- Beneficiary Designation – On many of your financial accounts, such as the retirement account and life insurance your first employer gives you, designating a beneficiary allows you to decide who gets the assets of the account after you pass away.
- Beneficiary Deed – If you have an interest in real property, you might want to consider a beneficiary deed as they allow you to say who gets that interest after you pass away. However, these are not always appropriate so speak to an experienced estate planning attorney to see if a beneficiary deed is right for you.
Estate planning is for everyone, recent graduates included.
For more information in Liberty, MO and the Kansas City Area about effective planning and to access free information and tools to organize your estate, visit our elder law and estate planning website.
Reference: National Law Review (July 7, 2014) “Five Estate Planning Documents Every Young Professional Should Have”