Most people think making an estate plan is something to do later in life, after someone has acquired considerable assets. But estate planning covers much more than just property issues. That means you should be concerned about appropriate estate planning for your young adult children as well as for yourself.
Why Estate Planning for Your Young Adult is Important
Estate planning isn’t just about handing down money after someone’s death or deeding properties to friends and family. The right estate planning documents can provide vital instructions and tools to be used in case an accident or illness makes your young adult incapable of making or communicating decisions. Addressing these estate planning concerns now can greatly protect your young adult’s future, particularly if they are setting off to college or graduating and embarking on a new life.
A child’s status change from minor to legal adult at age 18 brings new questions and implications, all of which can be addressed with an estate plan. In fact, creating an estate plan is an important part of growing up and providing peace of mind for the future.
Critical Parts of an Estate Plan for Young Adults
There are several types of documents you’ll want to consider when estate planning for your young adult. These include:
- A living will/healthcare directive. A living will is quite different from a traditional will. A living will allows your young adult to record their wishes for end-of-life care or life-sustaining treatments in case of an accident, illness, or injury. While the prospect may seem remote, it’s best to be proactive and plan for the unexpected just in case.
- Healthcare surrogate designation. A healthcare surrogate designation is an essential part of an estate plan for young adults. This document designates someone who is authorized to make medical decisions in case your young adult becomes incapacitated due to an accident or illness.
- HIPAA authorization. After the age of 18, your young adult is a legal adult. This means that, by default, only they can have access to their medical information. A HIPAA authorization form allows your young adult to enable additional people to access their medical information – including information about medical care, condition, and treatment.
- Durable financial power of attorney. This document designates a personal representative to access your young adult’s financial accounts and make financial decisions on their behalf if they become ill or incapacitated. A financial power of attorney could allow a parent to pay bills if a student is injured in an accident or absent due to a study abroad program.
Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Each of these elements of an estate plan for young adults can ensure that your young adult’s future estate, medical needs, and financial welfare are properly cared for. We would be happy to discuss these documents with you or prepare an estate plan for any member of your family. To learn more about the best options for your situation, contact us now