estate planning

2 Documents Young People Should Have

2 Documents Young People Should Have

Ask yourself this: If I got into a car accident tomorrow and became incapacitated, who would make medical decisions on my behalf? Do you know if that person’s decisions would be in line with your wishes? Do you know who would pay your bills? If these questions concern you — and they should — it’s time to start thinking about some basic estate planning even if you don’t have a spouse or children or a substantial amount of wealth to pass on.

That’s right; even young, single people need to do some estate planning. The good news is that you don’t need an elaborate, complex plan at this point. You can set up a plan for your medical and financial affairs by executing two simple documents — an advance health-care directive and a durable power of attorney — and you can do it in less than 30 minutes.

A Primer for Estate Planning

Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning.

Why Three Personal Representatives May Be Better Than Two

Why Three Personal Representatives May Be Better Than Two

Having two heirs appointed as co-personal representatives named in a will may sound like a good idea, but they sometimes disagree on various issues of estate administration, get locked into stalemates and there can be hurt feelings.

Having three personal representatives with one vote each provides a practical way to break deadlocks. The third person could be a trusted personal friend or advisor who will be able to break any tie votes and attempt to minimize hurt feelings.

Estate Planning for your Digital Assets

When creating your estate plan, there are obvious areas to account for, such as what will happen to your home and belongings. However, now that we’re in the digital age, you have an entire identity that exists online. This not only includes your email and social networks, which contain personal information and private correspondence, but also websites like amazon, itunes, or financial apps that store your banking and/or credit card information. Our growing use of these websites and apps means that there is a growing need to include your digital assets in your estate plan, or risk having this personal information hacked, potentially putting your estate at risk. 

State and federal privacy laws prohibit unauthorized access to your online accounts. In addition to this, the terms of service agreement that you clicked the box for when registering, states that the only person authorized to access the account is the account creator. This means that even if you give someone your account login information, without a legal document stating your wishes, that person does not have the rights to access your accounts.

Updating Your Estate Plan

An estate plan has three objectives. The first goal is to preserve your accumulated wealth. The second goal is to express who will receive your assets after your death. The third goal is to state who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot.

Over time, your feelings about these objectives may change. You may want to name a new executor or health care agent. You may rethink how you want your wealth distributed.