Estate planning lawyers at Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle can provide advice to people of all ages with making an estate plan appropriate to their life situation. Many young people don’t want to think about making an estate plan or don’t believe they need one, but you don’t want to wait and put off making your plans or the consequences could be dire.
Why Young People Need an Estate Plan
Young people need an estate plan because there are no guarantees that young people will make it to old age, especially with their health in tact. Accidents can happen or serious illnesses or injuries could strike at any time. When an emergency takes your life or leaves you incapacitated, you and your family could be in a very bad situation if you don’t already have an estate plan in place.
If you are young, you may not have a substantial nest egg yet – but people may be counting on your income or counting on you to provide them with services such as caregiving for parents or for young children.
If something happens to you and you pass away, your spouse, parents or other dependents may be left without the income you were producing or could be forced to pay to hire someone to take over the caregiving and other services you were providing. This could result in substantial financial hardship. Part of making an estate plan may involve recognizing the financial risk your loved ones would face if you passed away and using tools like the purchase of a life insurance policy to protect your family from money worries if something happens to you.
If you are young, you may also have a young family, including children. If something happens to you, you may assume that your child’s other parent would take care of the kids. Sometimes, however, both parents pass away or one parent passes away and the other is left unfit and unable to care for the children.
You need to have a guardianship plan in place in case you and your child’s other parent cannot raise your kids to adulthood. You should choose a trusted person who shares your values to raise your kids if you cannot and you should make your wishes clear by making an estate plan so your children do not end up in a custody battle or being raised by someone you would not have chosen.
In addition to addressing custody issues for your children, you may also want your estate plan to include tools ensuring your children are provided for financially if something happens to you. Leaving money directly to someone who is underaged causes a host of problems, including a need for a court to appoint a guardian as well as the problem of the child receiving an entire inheritance at age 18 with no conditions or restrictions.
To avoid the court randomly appointing someone to manage your child’s inheritance, and to make sure your child doesn’t just squander an inheritance handed to him at age 18, you should consider working with an experienced attorney to make a trust. You can name a trustee who will have a fiduciary duty to manage the trust assets appropriately and use those assets to ensure children are provided for.
When you are young, you may also have some possessions that you do want to pass on to specific loved ones or to charitable organizations that you care about. If you have not made plans for what will happen to your money and property, intestacy law will determine where your assets go. If you are married, the assets will typically go entirely to your spouse if you pass away with no estate plan, unless you have children from outside of the marriage. If you are not yet married however, intestacy law will determine other relatives who will inherit, such as your parents or siblings. If you would prefer to select someone else to inherit, you will want to make an estate plan so these intestacy law don’t control your legacy if something unexpected happens.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Lawyers
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle has represented clients of all ages in Michigan’s shoreline communities. Clients trust us to help with the estate planning process because we make this stressful and emotional process simple, straight-forward and affordable. To find out more about the services our estate planning lawyers can offer, give us a call at (989) 872-5601 or contact us online today.