At Stepp & Sullivan, our Texas estate planning attorneys know that when young adults head off to college, get their first jobs, or pursue a move to another state or country, the last thing on their minds is how to plan for life after death.
The reality is, once young adults build a life of their own, Living Wills and Wills and Trusts can help keep their affairs in order, even if they never need them, or are only temporarily incapacitated during a traffic collision or illness.
The transition period from living under your parent’s financial umbrella to becoming official adults also brings legal changes that must be accounted for, even if your overall estate consists of little more than a checking account.
Here is what young adults need to know about starting their estate planning early.
You Deserve to Have Your Wishes Followed
No matter your age, you probably have certain beliefs and wishes about how your life should unfold, and what should happen when you are no longer able to make those decisions on your own.
Consider this: If you are incapacitated by an injury or illness, who gets to decide what type of treatment you receive?
A Living Will is a legal document that allows an individual to specify what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.
Likewise, a Will or Trust, depending on your unique needs, will outline how your estate is divided after death. That means you get to choose each path based on your wishes, not what someone else believes you might want.
You Have Privacy Rights
If you are injured in an accident or incapacitated by an illness, you have medical privacy rights afforded by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. HIPPA states that anyone not given explicit rights via a power of attorney and a HIPAA release can be denied access to medical information or limit their ability to make decisions about a patient’s care — even parents or the next of kin.
Young adults also have a right to privacy when it comes to their finances, which can also be afforded to an agent by appointing a Power of Attorney. This will allow the appointed person to pay bills, managing things like financial aid, banking, and tax matters on your behalf, if you cannot.
Young Adults Can Form an Estate Plan Using Simple Wills or Trusts
It is not uncommon for adults to enjoy success at an early age. Whether they are self-employed, own a thriving business with employees, or have amassed a home, car, and 401k in their early years, each of their assets must be accounted for, and assigned a beneficiary.
Depending on the size of your estate — even if it is a checking account and household possessions — each detail should be outlined in a simple Will that can be reviewed as circumstances change.
If your finances are more involved, a Trust could help separate the business from your personal assets and keep everything in line as your life moves forward, so there is no question about a successor or where the transfer of the assets.
Talk with an experienced Houston estate planning attorney about drafting all the necessary estate planning documents for your unique needs, and discuss your plans with your parents, spouse or partner, siblings, or friends you would like to engage in this important process.
We can help, no matter the size of your estate, so you can live a long and healthy life with confidence.
Contact Our Skilled Estate Planning Attorneys in Texas Today
If you would like help ensuring you are making the best estate planning decisions for your unique needs, contact us today at (713) 336-7200 or online to learn more about your legal rights and options to make informed decisions about your future.