Three Estate-Planning Milestones for Young Adults

Young adulthood isn’t known as a time when you’re overly concerned with estate planning. In fact, two major objections arise when the subject is broached:

  1. “I have plenty of time to do that.”
  2. “I don’t have any assets yet to divvy up.”

And while we all hope the first one is true and that the second one will change over time, there are good reasons to create a will and keep it updated while you’re still young.

Here are three major life moments when you should create or update your will.

You turn 18.

That’s right — the first significant action of your adult life should be to create a will. By doing so, you’ll save your family additional grief by taking the guesswork out of what you’d want done with possessions, pets, or even your social media accounts if ever something unfortunate happened to you.

You may also have an inheritance that has been left in trust to you. You’ll want to leave instructions in your will about where those assets should go.

Additionally, your final instructions can include what you want to be done if you’re comatose or in a persistent vegetative state. Whatever your wishes, it’s important to define them explicitly in advance.

You get married.

It’s a blissful time — two young people in love, starting their life together. It may seem like a morbid time to plan for the end, but it’s necessary to update your will to account for your new shared life.

Use this time as an opportunity to consider your last wishes and discuss with your spouse what you’ll both want when the time comes. Odds are you’re accruing more in the way of assets and responsibilities, and you’ll want to ensure that you’re both well-versed in what needs to happen if the unfortunate transpires.

You have kids.

Now that little ones are in the picture, don’t let lack of sleep distract you from updating your estate plans. You’ll want to decide who would care for your children if the worst were to happen.

Additionally, now is the time to consider a trust that will protect your assets until your children reach maturity, as well as other estate-planning options to protect your beneficiaries from creditors and excessive taxes.

The best news is that, even if you’ve passed a few of these milestones without creating or updating your will, it’s not too late. Make an appointment with an estate planner today so they can align your final wishes with your current situation.

This entry was posted in Articles.
  • About the Author

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    Mark S. Reckman

    Mark Reckman has been with Wood + Lamping since 1979 and has served as the head of the Real Estate and Probate Practice Areas as well as managing partner of the firm.

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