Estate Planning for Millennials
If there is one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that life is uncertain. As much as we want to feel like we are in control of our own destiny, unforeseen circumstances can cause our lives to take some strange twists and turns.
With so much uncertainty in our world today, it is more important than ever to create an estate plan that ensures your loved ones are taken care of. Estate planning is not something that Millennials and Gen-Z adults like to think too much about, and a lot of those in this age group have been putting off doing anything about it.
While it is tempting to continue procrastinating in this area, setting up an estate plan is well worth the time and effort. A properly structured plan can save your loved ones a lot of time, money, and stress, and it will give you the peace of mind knowing that your final wishes will be carried out in the event of a worst-case scenario.
Estate Planning Essentials for Millennials
Here are some of the most important areas that millennials may need to address with their estate plans:
Transferring Property and Assets
If you have accumulated some property and assets, such as a home and a 401(k) account, then you will at the very least want to have a Last Will and Testament that specifies who receives your assets when you are gone. If you don’t have a substantial amount of wealth and your most valuable assets are jointly owned (perhaps with your spouse), then a will would probably be sufficient. But if you do have significant assets, you may want to consider setting up a trust so these assets can go directly to your designated beneficiaries when you die without the need for probate. Speak with your attorney to discuss which documents you may need.
Transferring Digital Assets
Millennials are the first generation that grew up online, and they are very tech savvy. Many of them have online bank accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, blogs, social media accounts, and income generating websites. If you have digital assets, you should take a full inventory of everything you have and decide how you want your online accounts to be handled if you can no longer do it yourself. Create a secure list of the usernames and passwords for each account along with corresponding information; and speak with your estate planning attorney about who it would be best to give this list to if you pass away or become incapacitated.
Caring for Children
Most Millennials with families are currently at the age when they still have minor children at home. If this describes you, then you need to think about who you want to raise your children should you die unexpectedly. Within your Last Will and Testament, you can designate a guardian or guardians who are willing to step in if needed. Without a will, the fate of your minor children will be left in the hands of the court.
Caring for Pets
Millennials love their pets, and most pet owners in this generation consider their furry friends to be close members of the family. If you have cherished pets, it would be in your best interest to create a plan that ensures that they end up with the right caregiver. Without a plan, your pets could wind up at a shelter or euthanized.
Providing for a Cohabitating Partner
Millennials have a far lower marriage rate than prior generations, but this does not necessarily mean they are not in a committed relationship. A lot of Millennials cohabitate with long-term partners, but they just never get around to taking the more permanent step of getting married. This could be problematic if you die without an estate plan, because while a spouse might have a strong legal claim on your assets and property, the same might not be true of a cohabitating partner.
Planning for Potential Future Health Events
Although you are still in your younger years and becoming old and frail seems like a long way off, you should still plan for the possibility of incapacitation. Even young people suffer debilitating injuries sometimes, from an accident, unforeseen health problem or whatever else, and it is important to be prepared if that happens.
Speak with your lawyer about designating someone to act as your Power of Attorney for healthcare and financial decisions. You can designate the same person for both functions or you can choose two separate individuals. You should also create an Advance Health Care Directive that specifies which healthcare procedures you want to have and which to forgo in the event that you are unable to make this decision at the time.
Contact a Seasoned Virginia Estate Planning Lawyer
Although Millennials are young and expect to live a long time, it is still very important for them to create an estate plan that addresses their specific needs. Take the first step now by contacting the experienced estate planning attorneys at Buck, Toscano & Terezkerz. Call our Charlottesville, VA office today at (434) 977-7977 or message us online to schedule your free initial consultation.