When packing up for college, there’s always a checklist for freshmen—things like sheets, notebooks, and class schedules. After four years, the tests have been taken, the all-nighters pulled off, and students are ready for the real world. Similarly to freshman year, they should have a checklist.
Unfortunately, most students and recent graduates are missing a key task on their list: estate planning.
There are a few estate planning basics that singles in their 20s and 30s could benefit from, discussed recently in an article from NBC News.
In a worst-case medical scenario, many young adults have a strong opinion in how they would like the situation handled. Few, however, make it official with incapacity planning. To plan for the worst situation, experts recommend that everyone fill out and sign a health care directive, or living will, and designate a representative to make medical decisions with a health care proxy.
When naming health care powers, no attorney is necessary.
Another major piece of estate planning is designating someone to take care of your financial affairs if you are no longer able to do so.
That could even include semesters a student spends studying abroad. It’s not necessarily always called into duty as a result of tragic circumstances, but a durable power of attorney will allow an agent to sign your name on contracts and financial documents.
Beyond finances, young adults may wonder what would happen to all their possessions. A simple will should take care of how you would like to dispense with your possessions. Even if you’re not a homeowner, insurance policies or retirement accounts may have a need for postmortem instructions on the distribution of their belongings.
When someone dies without a will, it’s known as dying intestate. With no other plans in place, state laws provide a framework for inheritances. If a young adult has any desire to change the default inheritance plan in his or her state, they will need a will.
Even is all you own are a gaming console and a set of golf clubs, a will lets you give to the people you choose. In addition, a health care proxy and a power of attorney constitute excellent estate planning moves for almost everyone, regardless of age.
If you need the help of an experienced estate and financial planner for yourself or a young adult, don’t ever feel like it’s too early to begin the process.