People often consider an estate plan to be something only their parents have – something we don’t need until we’re retiring or ill. However, estate plans are critical for adults of all ages and all stages of life.
That said, the chances are good that your plan will look considerably different now than it might look when you are your parent’s age.
Not your parents’ plan
When you are creating your estate plan, some of the ways it can differ from those of older people include:
- Appointing guardians, trustees for minor children: Unless your parents have minor children, they do not need to decide who will take care of kids and manage their finances when parents pass away. On the other hand, if you have kids or plan to have children, these will be critical components of your plan.
- Containing a wide range of digital assets: No matter how tech-savvy your parents may be, their digital footprint is likely much smaller than yours is. You may have several digital assets, from online photo and video libraries to cryptocurrency. In your estate plan, you will want to acknowledge these assets and define what you want to happen to them if you become incapacitated or pass away.
- Taking a simpler approach: Your parents might have accumulated complicated, sizable assets. And they may be more focused on completing Medicaid planning. For these and other reasons, their planning strategies and choices could be more complicated than yours are. Younger folks with fewer assets often start with a more straightforward plan that serves as a foundation for a comprehensive package they can build on over time.
- Addressing debts: While people of all ages carry debt, you could have more debt than your parents have. Younger New Yorkers typically have student loan debt, mortgages, credit card debts, and other loans they will want to address in an estate plan, particularly if there are co-signors or joint account holders.
Too many people dismiss an estate plan as something only their parents need. But every adult should have an estate plan that reflects their wishes and protects that which is most important to them.