by Colin G. Meeker, Attorney at Law
email: [email protected] :: office: 330.253.3337 :: mobile: 330.603.7173
ATTENTION ALL MILLENNIALS:
Did you know Millennials – the 71 million people born roughly from 1981 to 1996 – make up the second-largest generation in the United States? Those now in their early to mid-career, (aged 24-39) are heading into their prime earning years. Some have families, careers, and homes. Others might be single, trying to make a name for themselves, while a number are still living life on the wild side. No matter where you fall on the spectrum now is an excellent time to think about what will happen to your assets at the end of your life.
No one wants to talk about death. It’s a challenging topic for most people. Face it, none of us will be alive forever, and while our next great adventure in the sky might be many years from now, there’s no guarantee. Unfortunately, tragedy can occur at any moment, leaving you and your loved ones in a tight spot. Taking a few simple actions now can prevent disaster down the line, protecting both you and your family’s interests.
“Perfect Planning Prevents Possible Problems.”
By developing your Estate Plan now, you can: 1) document your end-of-life healthcare wishes; 2) ensure your loved ones don’t have the stress of making these decisions for you; 3) control who will receive your assets; 4) select the best guardian for your children if you pass away.
Estate Planning is for EVERYONE, regardless of age or financial circumstances.
Top 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER when it comes to Millennials and Estate Planning:
1.) Start Today, Regardless of Your Net Worth or Age.
Estate planning is a fundamental process for everyone, regardless of age or net worth. Think you don’t need an estate plan if you don’t own a home or much money in the bank? Would you rather put this off until you are older and better situated financially?
These misconceptions are FALSE and DANGEROUS! It’s true; you may not need an Estate Plan for decades in the future. But, unfortunately, you may need one as early as tomorrow.
Every millennial has assets, and some have children. Creating an Estate Plan enables you to take control of how you want treated if you become ill or incapacitated. Investing in your future now will protect everything you own and everyone you care about for years to come.
2.) Draft a Last Will and Testament.
We all want to decide where our assets go in the event of an untimely death. A simple will formalizes your wishes, is very affordable, and can be completed with an attorney in a matter of days.
Without a will, state intestacy laws kick in, meaning your assets will be distributed per local laws and not by your desires. Wills also name the person/s who will have guardianship over your children when you pass.
As your assets grow, BMB Law recommends the preparation of a revocable living trust. This trust keeps your estate out of the probate court system at death or incapacity, while offering many additional benefits.
3.) Get a Power of Attorney and Living Will.
These two documents are essential to Estate Planning. A Power of Attorney authorizes another person to obtain your medical information and to make health care decisions for you on your behalf. A Living Will documents how you want life-sustaining treatment or medical procedures administered if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition or become permanently unconscious.
These documents are inexpensive and take very little time to complete with an attorney. They allow you to make critical medical and life-ending decisions now while you are not under pressure or facing a medical emergency.
4.) Consider Buying Life Insurance.
Your employer may provide you with group life insurance coverage. But is it enough? Most employer-sponsored life insurance policies will help cover funeral expenses, and that’s about it. When you die, not only will your family suffer a heartbreaking loss, they’ll also be burdened financially. Beyond the loss of your paycheck, there may be uncovered medical and other end-of-life expenses, credit card and loan debt, as well as how to pay for college tuition for your children.
Particularly if you are married or have kids, consider an individual life insurance policy. For Millennials, term life insurance provides coverage at a fixed rate of payments for a limited period. It’s the least expensive way to purchase a substantial death benefit over a specific time and is a great option for those in early to mid-career.
5.) Check and Confirm Your Designated Beneficiaries.
If your job provides fringe benefits, such as a pension plan or life insurance policy, you must indicate a beneficiary for each instrument. In essence, this is the person/s who will receive the benefit upon your death! Listing one or more beneficiaries ensures your benefits are paid out to those you name, instead of leaving it for the court’s to distribute. We recommend you review and confirm or change your beneficiaries each year. With high divorce rates or the death of a previously listed beneficiary, etc., by not confirming who you have listed, your assets could end up in the hands of your ex, or the State of Ohio if you are not proactive.
At your age, you may feel infallible or immortal. Dying is probably at the bottom of your list of concerns. But, no matter how great you are at planning out your life, the one thing you have little control over is your death. Adding Estate Planning to your “to do” list will give you a great deal of control and the reassurance you and your loved ones will be taken care of as you hoped.
So, are you convinced to roll up your sleeves and do some Estate Planning? Even though you’re young and healthy, the responsible and smart thing to do is to take care of your estate planning — for your peace of mind and your loved ones.
Get a FREE Case Evaluation with a Blakemore, Meeker, & Bowler attorney by filling out our contact form or call us at 330.253.3337.