A global pandemic, marriage, becoming parents, and just wanting to protect your assets are just some of the reasons that millennials are choosing to implement an estate plan. A millennial is categorized as anyone born between 1981 and 1997 – making them between 25 and 40 years of age. As we age, we start to realize that life can change quickly and just how important it is to make sure we have a protection plan in place just in case the unthinkable happens.
However, despite recognizing that an estate plan is important, a recent study by care.com showed that 2 out of 3 adults still do NOT have a will in place. When asked about their reasoning for not having an estate plan in place, more people than ever are saying they just don’t know how to get one. So we’re stepping in with a millennials guide to getting started with estate planning to help make this process as simple as possible for you – because no matter how young you are or how little assets you possess, an estate plan is still vital.
Why Do You Need an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is so much more than just a will listing who will be the beneficiary to your estate. An estate plan is a collection of legal tools and documents that allows you to put in place what will happen after you die or what decisions you want to be made if you’re incapacitated.
What Documents Will I Need?
Last Will and Testament lays out your wishes for after you die. For example your last will and testament – can include the following:
- Who would assume guardianship of minor children
- Your named executor of the estate
- How you want your assets distributed
- Funeral wishes
- Organ donor preferences
- Guardianship of pets
A Medical Directive includes your medical care instructions and wishes should you become incapacitated and unable to make these decisions for yourself. While this is not a fun topic, it is a necessary one – especially if you have specific wishes regarding your health care. A Medical Directive covers cognitive incapacities like comas, vegetative state, and brain injuries. This document can set healthcare instructions like not wanting to live on a ventilator or have a feeding tube, etc.
Health Care Power of Attorney will name someone you trust to make your medical and healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated and can no longer make these decisions for yourself. While your Medical Directive sets out your wishes, the Health Care Power of Attorney is responsible for situations you may not have covered. For example, the Health Care Power of Attorney may need to decide which nursing home you go to or whether or not you should try an experimental treatment.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization is not required as part of the Health Care Power of Attorney but is highly recommended. Due to HIPAA, some doctors will not disclose critical information to your Health Care Power of Attorney. It is also better to be safe than sorry and have them sign a HIPAA Authorization so you can ensure they’re learning all the valuable information about your medical care in order to make the best and most informed decision.
Financial Power of Attorney is a trusted person who acts on your behalf in non-medical situations. For example, this person could act on your behalf to pay your bills or even act on your behalf to make business decisions if you own your own business.
Letter of Instruction is a letter to your loved ones that can leave general instructions. This can include important information like where to find your will, financial documents, and since we live in an ever-growing digital environment, it can include passwords to social media accounts or other digital assets.
While the internet is full of free resources, we recommend speaking with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan is not only done properly but is also legally binding.
To learn more about estate planning for millennials, don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated team at Caress Law either by calling (503) 292-8990 or using the contact form on our website. Caress Law, PC also offers a Family Protector Program, which is a monthly program designed to ensure your family is protected now, and in the future. Contact us to learn more about this valuable program.