If you’re a Pennsylvania adult who has settled into an independent life, either as a single person or married with children, you likely have had thoughts about your future. Some young adults limit thoughts of the future to topics such as what career they might want to pursue or where they will live when they retire someday. Another topic worth thinking about, however, is estate planning.
Your initial reaction might be that such issues are only relevant to older people, people with high-net-worth assets or business owners who are preparing to retire. In reality, there are many benefits to executing an estate plan, even early on in your adult life.
You cannot predict how long you will live
The only certainty about the future is how unpredictable it is regarding the exact time your life will come to an end. You might be the type of person who doesn’t necessarily like to discuss your own mortality. However, no one lives forever, and no one can predict with 100% certitude when he or she will die.
When a person dies, there are funeral expenses and other financial issues that may arise. If you have a strong estate plan in place from a young age, you can designate funds for final expenses. In 2019, the average cost of a funeral was between $7,000 and $9,000.
Planning for your children’s future
Perhaps your children are under age 10 at this point. As a young parent, you can incorporate a trust into an estate plan that your children will gain access to when they reach a certain age. You can customize the plan to fit your family’s needs and legacy goals.
There are several types of trusts, some of which are revocable, meaning that you can make changes to the terms, provided you’re of sound mind at the time. Other trusts are irrevocable, meaning that you cannot change them, and they take effect when you die. It’s a good idea to research trust options to determine which type best suits your purpose.
Designate a Power of Attorney
Like all good parents, you want what’s best for your kids, and you try your best to protect them and provide for their needs. What if something were to happen to you, such as an illness or injury, resulting in an inability to speak or act on your own behalf?
If you execute an estate plan that includes a financial and medical Power of Attorney, you can choose a person you trust to make important decisions regarding financial matters or your health if you are no longer able to do so.
It’s never too soon to plan an estate, but it could become too late
You might think that devising an estate plan at a young age doesn’t make sense because your life is going to change a lot in the years to come. An estate plan isn’t set in stone. You can adapt it, update it or make deletions at will, as long as you are mentally competent.
If there are births in your family or other life events that might have an impact on your estate plan, you can revise it to fit the need. You can also ask someone who is well-versed in estate planning laws to periodically review your plan to make updates and be sure you are covering all issues you wish to address in your plan.