Many young adults have not yet accumulated enough property for full probate, but that does not mean they should not consider an estate plan. Modern estate planning encompasses many important factors, not just simple property issues.
We are well-versed in estate planning for all ages, including young adults. We would be happy to guide you through the estate planning process. Just give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Do Young Adults Need Estate Planning?
As a parent, you’ve made sure your affairs are in order so that your family is protected if anything should happen to you. But what about your young adult children who are leaving for college or just starting their careers?
Many young adults have not yet amassed enough property to subject their estates to the full probate process. Does that mean they are not yet ready for an estate plan? The answer is a resounding “no.” Modern estate planning goes far beyond simple property issues to cover healthcare decision-making and other critical factors.
A thoughtful estate plan protects young adults from problems that can arise at any age. One of the best ways a parent can help their children start their adult lives on the right foot is to encourage them to prepare the four critical estate planning documents described below. Without these documents, parents or other family members may be powerless to help if an injury or illness prevents a young adult from making decisions or communicating their own wishes.
Health Care Proxy/Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
With a Health Care Proxy in place, your adult child can designate a parent or other trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for them in the event they are unable to make them for themselves. Depending on the other documents in place, the person holding this power will have the authority to make healthcare decisions, including the decision to terminate care.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
If your adult child is in a car accident or suffers a serious illness and becomes unable to handle financial issues, what happens? They could be evicted from an apartment and have their credit record destroyed as bills go unpaid. This can be avoided if they have prepared a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.
This document appoints a parent or other trusted person to take legal and financial actions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. A financial power of attorney can limit authority to specific actions, or the document may grant broad authority to do everything.
A Durable Power of Attorney could allow a parent to:
Sign legal documents, including deeds to real estate
Sign checks or make electronic payments
Access financial records
Manage or close financial and retirement accounts
A Durable Power of Attorney can be created to be used immediately or only upon someone’s physical or mental incapacity.
Many parents become familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) when they try unsuccessfully to help their children set up a doctor’s appointment, sort out a health insurance problem, or pick up medication. The privacy provisions of this law can severely restrict access to all types of medical information, leaving parents helpless when they want to assist. If an adult child signs a HIPAA waiver, they can allow an agent such as a parent to have access to medical records, speak to doctors, and take other actions.
Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directives
An Advance Directive known as a “Living Will” allows your young adult to specify the type of medical care they wish to receive in certain end of life medical situations. The document would only take effect if your child’s medical status was critical and they were unable to make or communicate their own decisions. Many times, these documents instruct doctors whether to take drastic life-saving measures if a patient is not expected to recover.
Last Will & Testament or Revocable Living Trust
If an adult child has already amassed financial assets, it may be worth having a Will to disburse the assets according to the adult child’s wishes. A Will or Trust would indicate who is to receive the financial assets. In addition, the adult child may wish to establish, within their Will or a Trust, a memorial scholarship or charitable distribution, giving to a cause that is aligned with their lifetime values.
Estate Planning is Critical at Any Age
The bottom line is that estate planning is critical for everyone regardless of age or circumstances. Even young, healthy adults can suffer an accident or illness that renders them unable to make or communicate decisions. Having the proper documents in place for young adult children can protect your family from unexpected circumstances.
Meet Attorney Bridgette Flores
Bridgette V. Flores began her career as a Paralegal with GuthroLaw in 2015. She earned her Juris Doctorate from New England Law School and was welcomed as an associate in 2020.
Bridgette's work focuses in estate planning, probate and elder law. Bridgette has worked with clients who require estate plans to avoid probate, to those that want to protect their assets from long term care facilities.
During her free time Bridgette loves to travel, take pictures, go out to eat, and spend time with family and friends. Bridgette is also fluent in Spanish and loves any opportunity to travel to Spanish speaking countries. She was a long time Somerville resident, who recently moved to Saugus with her partner Kenneth, and they are both loving the area.
Word of the Month
noun humorous or witty conversation
pronunciation: bad-n-ahzh, bad-n-ij
light, playful banter or raillery.
So, with laughter and shouts and endless badinage and merriment, the guests take their places.
Badinage entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
Badinage “playful banter” is a French compound noun of badiner “to joke, trifle” and the noun suffix -age, naturalized in English. Badiner is a derivative of the noun badin “joker, banterer,” from the Provençal verb badar “to gape,” which in turn comes from unrecorded Vulgar Latin batāre “to yawn, gape.”
Do you have an idea for our next Word of the Month? Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To provide clients with optimum service, we focus our practice on Estate Planning, Estate & Trust Administration, Probate, Asset Protection and Elder Law issues. If you have a question, need advice or counsel, contact us online or call 781-229-0555.
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Attorney and Counsellor at Law
Seventeen Treetop Court Burlington, Massachusetts 01803 United States
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