Is 18 Too Early to Start Estate Planning?

teenager crossed arms looking at camera

Many people share the assumption that you do not need to focus on estate planning until you are well into your career or nearing retirement age. Is this true? Our team at DebnamRust, P.C. explains the importance of estate planning for people of all ages, including those younger than you might think.

The Prime Time to Start Estate Planning

Many financial experts recommend that everyone draft an estate plan when they turn 18. There are many reasons why this early start is beneficial or even necessary. While we all hope that no young person unexpectedly loses their life, the uncomfortable reality is that it does happen. This is why it’s important that every legal adult, regardless of age, has an estate plan.

First, the young adult can determine how they’d like their assets distributed if they are to pass away. Many 18-year-olds may believe that they don’t have enough money or physical assets to justify having an estate plan. However, they may be surprised just how much they have that holds value. Once the young adult starts taking inventory of their assets and thinking of who they’d like to distribute them to, they may be surprised to see how much they really do have in their possession. This could include objects of sentimental value, bank account savings, their car, and more.

Second, not all estate planning decisions only apply to after one’s passing. There are also important aspects of an estate plan like designating powers of attorney. This includes a healthcare power of attorney and a financial power of attorney. Once minors turn 18, their parents can no longer access some important records which is why designating a healthcare and financial power of attorney is important. A healthcare power of attorney can make important medical decisions if the young adult can no longer communicate for themselves. A financial power of attorney has the right to manage the young adult’s financial matters if they become unable to do so on their own. Most 18-year-olds designate these responsibilities to their parents or adult siblings until they enter a committed romantic relationship, at which point they may modify their estate plan and powers of attorney.

While 18-year-olds may not need to create highly-detailed or lengthy estate plans, there are numerous valid reasons why every legal adult should draft at least a basic estate plan. This gives both the young adult and their family peace of mind, should anything unexpected happen.

How To Discuss Estate Planning with Your Children

18-years-old is still so young, and many people this age are not thinking about estate planning. In fact, many young adults may not even be familiar with the concept. As parents, you can bring up the importance of estate planning and help your children get started.

Some young adults may be hesitant to discuss estate planning. It could make them uncomfortable to think about their own passing or incapacitation. It may also appear to be so overwhelming that they do not want to start the process. However, here are some tips for when to bring up the subject and how to motivate your children to estate plan.

  • Broach the topic in a comfortable, private space
  • Don’t frighten them by discussing a future tragedy they may endure
  • Explain the benefits of having an estate plan
  • Share your own experiences with estate planning
  • Offer to help them through the process

DebnamRust, P.C. Can Help Young Adults Estate Plan

Working with an attorney on your estate plan is smart for individuals of all ages, but especially for young adults who are unfamiliar with the process and requirements. Set up a consultation with our estate planning team today; call us at (214) 758-8681 or click here and a member of our team will contact you shortly.

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