Wills and Powers of Attorney are often overlooked by people in their 20s and early 30s. Here are 8 reasons why you should get your documents drafted:
- You’re married – Creating a Will is essential after you get married to reflect your wishes for your shared assets and property. The average assumption is that being married means everything automatically goes to your spouse when you die. However, if you have children or parents still living, your spouse only gets a portion of the assets. It’s also important to have the fundamental conversations with your spouse about planning for death. It’s not fun, but something you’ll appreciate having checked off your list sooner, rather than later.
- You’re not married – Millennials are waiting longer to get married. The average age of marriage in 2018 was 27, compared to 22 in 1980. A lot of people wait to get their documents completed until after marriage, thinking that it does not really matter until they have a spouse anyway. It is just as important to have a Will before you are even considering settling down. If you pass away without a Will, your family will have to choose who will administer your estate and your assets will transfer to your family based upon Pennsylvania law instead of your wishes. In most situations, this means everything goes to your parents, which may not be your intention if you’re in a long-term relationship or have specific wishes for your property.
- Children – A Will is crucial to appoint a guardian for your children should something happen to you and your spouse/partner. A Will leaves clear intentions on who you want caring for your children and avoids various family members going to court to fight over guardianship. Don’t leave your children and family in a vulnerable position by not making your wishes known.
- You bought a house – If you bought a house before getting married, the property does not automatically transfer to your spouse when you pass away. Only property bought by two people who are currently married automatically transfers to the surviving spouse in Pennsylvania. Having a Will which leaves everything to your spouse will avoid a costly process of opening an estate to transfer these larger assets to your spouse upon your death.
- You have pets – Pets are part of the family and millennials in particular are very invested in the well-being of their cats and dogs. It is a smart planning step to know who you would like to care for your furry family members should anything tragic happen to you. In many cases, the family member who would best be able to handle your estate is not necessarily the best person to take care of your pet when you aren’t around. Leave clear instructions on who should be in charge of caring for your pet in the event of your death.
- Medical decisions – A Healthcare Power of Attorney is often overlooked by young adults in their understanding of necessary estate planning documents. Medical emergencies are one of the great “what ifs” in life and it is essential to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in an emergency. This is a crucial document for any person 18 or older.
- Financial protection – You have worked really hard to get to your current financial situation. Whether that was college, working your way up the ranks at your job, paying down on debt or purchasing a home, personal finances take a lot of work. It’s important to grant someone the legal authority to care for your financial plan if you are unable to do so for a period. A Durable Power of Attorney designates a person of your choosing to handle your bills, finances, and financial responsibilities if you are severely injured, going through an extensive medical crisis, or out of the country for a period of time.
- I have more debt than assets– If you have gone to college, purchased a home or are just starting out on your own, chances are you have a good chunk of debt and not that many assets. You are not alone! Wills are not exclusively for people to leave large inheritances to their family. It is important to have a person to wrap up your affairs, both physical and digital. Think of all the online accounts, student loans, banking, and social media that you currently use. Having a Will allows you to appoint a set person to handle the transfer or closing of all these accounts.
While the thought of creating a Will and Powers of Attorney may be daunting, the process itself is fairly simple when you work with a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney who will walk you through the decision-making process and then draft a package of documents that reflects your needs and wishes. If you would like to discuss your estate planning options, call any of our three offices to schedule an appointment. We would love to walk you through this process and provide you with peace of mind.