We all want to live long and happy lives, but even millennials should prepare their estate in case the unexpected happens. Here’s a look at five steps millennials should take in order to ensure that their affairs are in order.
Select a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is the person you appoint on your behalf to handle specific aspects of your affairs in the event that you are medically incapacitated.
Generally speaking, the Power of Attorney is the person you trust more than anyone else in the world. It’s very likely to be a spouse, sibling, or parent. However, it’s important to remember that you should always have a backup.
An all-too-common scenario is that both you and your spouse may be in an accident at the same time and if your spouse is the only Power of Attorney you have, you may be in a legally tenuous position.
Furthermore, there are different kinds of Power of Attorney, including Medical or Financial. You can also select a Power of Attorney for specific circumstances, such as a particular event or only during medical incapacitation.
Choose a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have a child, one of the most critical things you can do in the course of estate planning is to select someone who will care for them in the event that you die before they become adults.
In most cases, a child’s custody will default to a spouse. However, this can be problematic in the event of a divorce, single parenting, or when planning for the potential death of a spouse as well.
Of course, this is a deeply personal decision that you will want to make in conjunction with the rest of your family and whoever you select as a guardian. One thing is for certain though. You should always have a backup plan.
You may select your parents to take custody of your children, but you should have a backup guardian as well, just in case something happens to your parents before you are able to update your estate documents.
Nominate an Executor for Your Estate
The Executor for your estate will be responsible for ultimately implementing your final wishes. Consider them the Executive Director of your death. This means that they will be responsible for:
- Disposing of any property, making decisions about how to sell your home and any other assets.
- Managing or supervising the management of any trusts established for heirs.
- Paying for any funeral expenses.
- Handling any miscellaneous legal matters related to the estate.
- Supervising the final custody arrangement of any heirs.
Designate Beneficiaries for Eligible Financial Accounts
The death of an individual will most likely mean that there will be financial assets to be dispersed. As such, a will should lay out who gets that money.
In most cases, if you are married, your spouse will receive all of your assets, including any current bank accounts, property, and life insurance benefits. However, formally designating your spouse as your primary beneficiary is still a good idea.
Things get more complicated if someone is unmarried or when your spouse dies at the same time as you do. In this instance, you’ll need to set up where you want your money to go. If you have heirs, you’ll want to determine how they will get any funds.
There are many options here, but they often involve the establishment of trusts which essentially determine how your children will be able to access that money if you are dead. These trusts may have restrictions, including the age at which a child will be able to access that money, who else can manage it, and under what circumstances the trust can be accessed early.
Lay Out Your Final Wishes in a Written Will
A will is a legal document that lays out how you want your final affairs to be handled. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Custody of any heirs.
- Final disposal of all property and financial assets.
- Any charitable donations from your estate.
- Establishment of any financial trusts.
In most states, wills must be written in a certain format and be filed with the appropriate court system in order to be effective. Wills are usually best written with the assistance of skilled legal professionals who have experience in this area.
Start Planning For Your Estate Now
It’s best to start planning your estate as early as possible. You never know when an accident or unexpected illness will occur that could leave your family in jeopardy. To get started planning your estate, reach out to attorneys with estate planning expertise, like WH Law, to help you plan for the unexpected.