When you think about estate planning, what do you imagine? Do you see someone in their 60s, 70s, or 80s making a will and looking at the assets they want to pass on? Do you imagine a person with a family setting up guardianships for their children if they can’t care for them anymore?
Estate planning can be a misleading term, because you don’t need much of an estate to plan for your future. While older adults may have more to plan for, someone who is 18 should have an estate plan, too.
An estate plan isn’t just your basic will
Your basic will is important, but there are some other protections you may want to put into place early. For example, did you know that once you turn 18 your parents can no longer access your medical information? If you get into an accident and need someone to make decisions for you, there will be no one specifically assigned to do so. Your parents won’t have any say, nor will other loved ones.
That’s why, even at 18, you need to set up your will and health care power of attorney. These are both simple forms, and they won’t be too difficult to set up at this age. Later, you can always go back and adjust them.
Your estate plan may not be complex, but it is important
At this age, it’s true that you may not have much complexity in your estate plan. A will, basic medical protections and maybe a trust would be enough to protect your assets and to make sure your parents or loved ones don’t have to go through probate to get access to your assets if you pass away.
Some basic protections to set up include your:
- Health care proxy
- Durable power of attorney
While you may think that these documents aren’t necessary at the moment, you can never know when you’ll be badly hurt or need someone to step in and take care of your final wishes. It is important to set up a basic estate plan, so you can rest easy knowing your legal matters are taken care of.