10 Reasons Young Professionals Should Have a Last Will and Testament

Should a Young Adult Have a Will?

Most young people don’t even think about the possibility of having a last will and testament until their 40s or at least they start having children, gaining some wealth, and have some assets. But even if you’re just starting out, last will and testament is a smart move to protect your family, your future, and your assets as well as your legacy.

Should you have a will before you turn 30?

In 2014, Forbes magazine reported that 51% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 did not have a will of any kind. Of course, that percentage is higher for those below that age range and 62% of people between the ages of 45 and 54 don’t have wills and of course, it gets worse from there. Is this just common practice or is something missing? What is the point of a will if you are a young, healthy individual? Are there reasons to have a will if you’re under 40 years old? Let’s discuss some of those and why it might be beneficial to have a last will and testament… In any case, it’s definitely something you won’t regret.

#1. You received an inheritance.

If you’ve received an inheritance or a windfall of any kind you want to protect that especially if it is held in a trust. Without an estate plan or last will and testament, the disposition of that money could be a very slow and tumultuous process for any surviving family members. Even if you are not married or have any heirs, you are leaving a mess of problems for those you left behind.

#2. You own pets.

There’s something you probably haven’t thought of before. What happens to your pets if you pass on unexpectedly? People don’t always die of old age or get sick and die in their 80s and 90s. Tragedies can happen and while we never expect them, we can plan for them. This not only protects our family members and our assets, but our furry family members as well. It’s not uncommon for people to include pets in their wills and it’s always better to plan ahead. Of course, our furry loved ones don’t last nearly as long as we usually do, so this will need to be updated from time to time.

#3. You don’t want anyone to deal with red tape.

With death comes on lot of red tape. Who owns what, who deals with what, who’s left over with the mess? If you pass on without a last will, your family will have to take your estate through a long court process known as probate. If there is nothing set in place of what you want to do with things, the government actually takes over and nobody really wants that. If you have life insurance, your family may not be able to access those funds until the probate process is complete, which could take months. Just some simple basic estate planning documents can keep your assets and estate out of the probate courts.

#4. You’ve entered the military.

Anyone who enters the military at 18 or any age should make sure all of their affairs are in order. Even if you are under 20 years old, simple estate planning documents like a health care directive and power of attorney can set your family members up for an easier process.

#5. You have social media accounts.

Again, probably not something you’ve thought of. We all spend countless hours online these days and have important photos and documents and sometimes even manage finances through bank accounts and applications. Without instructions on how to proceed with all of those accounts after you pass on, it could be a mess trying to get into certain accounts, find passwords, and access some of the most vital and important pieces of your life, not just photos, but bank accounts and statements.

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Even if you pass on all of your finances and assets to family members and beneficiaries, they will automatically donate money unless it is set forth in a will. If there is no will, laws will dictate who receives assets and they could be immediate family members, but not always. It’s vitally important that if you want to donate to charity or some other organization, give specifics to family and friends, it must be set forth in your legal will.

#7. Discuss end-of-life decisions.

Yes, it does sound morbid but it’s really one of the most caring things that you can do for your family members and even yourself. If you die suddenly and have no advance warning to make final decisions, and there’s no legal documents about instructions on your final care and burial, family members are left scrambling and it may get turned over to the state. It’s important to talk about do not resuscitate documents, what happens if you become incapacitated, or die suddenly. Don’t worry, all of these details and things you’ve probably never even thought of can be discussed with an estate planning professional.

#8. Keeps family members from arguing.

Now, I can’t promise this, but if everything is straightforward, said in writing, and legally documented, it does keep a lot of family members from arguing over assets. The executor of the estate must follow the instructions to the letter and family members cannot argue unless they want to fight the will in court, which can mean a costly battle. This may even be how your remains are managed. Perhaps your parents wanted a burial while your spouse or you want to cremation. These are very specific details that need to be laid out in a last will and testament.

#9. What happens to you if you are in a coma or incompetent.

If something happened such as an accident that prevents you from reasonably laying out a plan for the rest of your life, you need something in place that would make those decisions for you. This is always best to do it now before anything could potentially happen. Again, nobody expects anything like this to happen but when you have a plan in place for the “just in case of” it makes this part of the process much easier even though it’s definitely a tragedy all around.

#10. You want to protect those you love.

Whether it’s your kids, your spouse, your parents, other loved ones, or even your pets, having a last will and testament in place that lays out in detail all of the above situations means that you care about those that you leave behind. Sure, you won’t have a thing to worry about, but the last thing anyone needs on top of dealing with the grief of losing you, is all the red tape involved if nothing is prepared ahead of time. If you have assets of any kind, things you want to leave behind, or even you just have opinions on how things will go once you have passed on, a last will and testament is an easy, affordable, and an effective way to keep you and your family members secure.

If you’re ready to take the next step in estate planning and preparing a last will, contact our office below. We assist young professionals and rising young adults with a variety of planning options, guiding you through the process with clarity and ease.

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