The millennial generation is wired very differently from the preceding ones, and it is different from the upcoming generations. This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is more blatant when you look at how millennials are thinking about money and future planning. An article from NerdWallet, “Millennials, Don’t Forget Estate Planning”, discusses this difference.
Millennials view money differently. They grew up during the recession and many came into deep student loan debt. Their plans for life are also different. Millennials are all about accomplishments and experiences. Traveling is not just on the bucket list for millennials, it is often checked off many times over. It comes as no surprise that estate planning is not on their to do list among consistently striving for new achievements, planning new travels, and moving through young life milestones. Millennials are focused on living life; the idea of their fast-paced lives coming to stop and what that means is not on their radars. Yet, it needs to be.
First, for millennials with children, creating a will and trust are extremely important. You want to create a will to appoint a guardian for your children in the event anything were to happen to you or your partner. In addition, establish a trust to hold the assets for your young children in the event you and your spouse die. Make sure all assets are aligned with the trust and that beneficiary designations are changed naming the trust to make sure the trustee distributes the assets in a responsible manner for your young children’s benefit.
Second, millennials should set up a health care directive. This covers your preference for how you would like care administered to you in the case of incapacitation.
Lastly, single millennials with no children and not a lot of assets should consider appointing a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney appoints someone to oversee your finances and personal affairs if you are unable to do so. Make sure, however, that the power of attorney is delivered to the financial institution now while you are competent so that it is on record and cannot be challenged or disallowed by the institution at a later date. Note that if the power of attorney is delivered after you are incompetent and the institution refuses to accept the power of attorney you will not be taken care of.
It is highly recommended you seek out a professional. This area of law is very complex and since each person and family is different, working closely with a professional will make sure that your plan fits your life and needs, and changes as you do. Estate planning is not a one shot deal, it requires regular updating, and establishing a relationship with a professional.
Millennials, while it can be hard to face your own mortality or loss of freedom due to incapacitation, it is better to have a plan in place to ensure your control over your life.
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Reference: NerdWallet (March 6, 2017) “Millennials, Don’t Forget Estate Planning”